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Test of the News 


Prepared with the assistance of 

An examination of the news reports in 

the New York Times on aspects of 

the Russian Revolution of special 

importance to Americans 

March 1917— March 1920 














A Supplement to 

The New Republic of August 4tk 1920 

Vol. xxiii. part II. No. 296 

borate vvv \ioi \iovaai 'Otafifuua 8u)[acxt' zyovaai 
vyiEiq yag i)eca Sate, naQzexi xe igte te Jtavxa, 
fjfieig 8e K^eog oiov dxoxJojiev ox>8e ti l5^gv 

"Enlighten me now, O Muses, tenants of Olympian 

For you are goddesses, inside on everything, know 

But we mortals hear only the news, and know 

nothing at all. 

Iliad II 484-86. 


A Test of the News 


C O n t 



Two Views of Russia's Power 4 

Reputable and Disreputable 5 


Misleading Optimism 6 

The Quest of a Dictator-Savior 7 

The Kornilov Rebellion 8 

The End of Kerensky 9 


Would the Soviets Last? 10 

During the Parleys at Brest-Litovsk 11 

Faith in the Bolsheviks Disappears 13 


The German Peril 14 

The True Voice of Russia 15 

The Push for Intervention 15 


Something to Fight For 17 

Red Peril 18 


The Man On Horseback., 19 

Recognition 20 

Kolchak in Power 21 

e n t s 


The Offensive Starts 22 

Kolchak Triumphant 24 

Disillusion 24 

Re-Enchantment 25 

The Strategic Withdrawal 26 

The End of the Kolchak Myth 26 


Democracy in the Ukraine 27 

The Picture Fades 28 


The Spring of 1919 29 

Midsummer 29 

Denikin's Farthest North 30 

Denikin in Retreat 31 


The Spring Offensive 32 

The Second Victory 33 



Dr. Nansen 37 

War's End 38 

Red Peril Again 40 



IT is admitted that a sound public opinion can- 
not exist without access to the news. There 
is today a widespread and a growing doubt 
whether there exists such an access to the news 
about contentious affairs. This doubt ranges from 
accusations of unconscious bias to downright charges 
of corruption, from the belief that the news is col- 
ored to the belief that the news is poisoned. On so 
grave a matter evidence is needed. The study which 
follows is a piece of evidence. It deals with the re- 
porting of one great event in the recent history of 
the world. That event is the Russian Revolution 
from March, 1917, to March, 1920. The analysis 
covers thirty-six months and over one thousand is- 
sues of a daily newspaper. The authors have ex- 
amined all news items about Russia in that period 
in the newspaper selected; between three and four 
thousand items were noted. Little attention was 
paid to editorials. 

The New York Times was selected as the 
medium through which to study the news, first 
because the Times, as great as any newspaper in 
America, and far greater than the majority, has 
the means for securing news, second, because the 

makeup of the news in the Times is technically ad- 
mirable, third, because the Times index is an 
enormous convenience to any student of contem- 
porary history, fourth, because the bound volumes 
are easily accessible, and fifth, because the Times 
is one of the really great newspapers of the world. 

The Russian Revolution was selected as the topic, 
because of its intrinsic importance, and because it 
has aroused the kind of passion which tests most 
seriously the objectivity of reporting. 

The first question, naturally, is what constitutes 
the test of accuracy? A definitive account of the 
Russian Revolution does not exist. In all prob- 
ability it will never exist in this generation. After 
a hundred years there is no undisputed history of 
the French Revolution, and scholars are still de- 
bating the causes and the meaning of the revolt 
of the Gracchi, the fall of Rome, and even of the 
American Revolution and the American Civil War. 
A final history of the Russian Revolution may never 
be written, and even a tolerably settled account is 
not conceivable for a long time. It would be foot- 
less therefore to propose an absolute measurement 
of news gathered amid such excitement and con- 


AugUSt 4, IQ20 

fusion. It would be equally vain to accept the ac- 
count of one set of witnesses in preference to any 
other set 

The "whole truth" about Russia is not to be 
had, and consequently no attempt is made by the 
authors to contrast the news accounts with any 
other account which pretends to be the "real truth" 
or the u true truth." A totally different standard 
of measurement is used here. The reliability of 
the news is tested in this study by a few definite 
and decisive happenings about which there is no 
dispute. Thus there is no dispute that the offensive 
of the Russian army under Kerensky in July 19 17 
was a disastrous failure; no dispute that the Pro- 
visional Government was overthrown by the Soviet 
power in November 19 17; no dispute that the 
Soviets made a separate peace with Germany at 
Brest-Litovsk in March 1918; no dispute that the 
campaigns of Kolchak, Denikin, and Yudenitch 
were a failure; no dispute that the Soviet Govern- 
ment was still in existence in March 1920. Against 
such salient facts the daily reports about Russia 
in this period are measured. The only question 
asked is whether the reader of the news was given 
a picture of various phases of the revolution which 
survived the test of events, or whether he was 
misled into believing that the outcome of events 
would be radically different from the actual out- 

The question of atrocities and of the merits or 
demerits of the Soviets is not raised. Thus, for 
example, there was a Red Terror officially pro- 
claimed by the Soviet Government in the summer 
of 1 9 1 8 ; and apart from the official terror, excesses 
occurred in many parts of Russia. No attempt is 
made here to sift the truth of the accounts, to de- 
termine whether there were exaggerations, or how 
far the White Terror equalled the Red Terror. 
The attempt is not made because no dependable 
account is available with which to measure the news 
reports. There was a round measure of truth in 
the report of terror and atrocity. For analogous 
reasons no discussion of the virtues and defects 
of the Soviet system is attempted. There are no 
authoritative reports. Able and disinterested ob- 
servers furnish contradictory evidence out of which 
no objective criteria emerge. Under these cir- 
cumstances an accurate report of the Soviet Govern- 
ment and the Terror is no doubt more than could 
have been expected from a newspaper. 

But what might more reasonably have been ex- 
pected and what was more immediately important 
for Americans, was to know in the summer of 19 17 
whether the Russian army would fight, and whether 
the Provisional Government would survive. It was 
important to know in the winter of 1917-18 wheth- 
er the Soviet Government would make a separate 
peace. It was important to know in the spring and 
early summer of 19 18 Whether the Russian people 

would support Allied intervention. It was important 
to know whether the Soviet Government was bound 
to collapse soon under Allied pressure. It was im- 
portant to know whether the White Generals — 
Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenitch were, or were not, 
winning their campaigns. It was important to know 
whether Poland was defending herself or invading 
Russia. It was important to know the disposition 
of the Soviet Government toward peace at the time 
of the peace conference. It was important to know 
whether there was a Red Peril before Allied troops 
entered Russia, or whether that peril dates from the 
German surrender. It was important to know 
whether the Red regime was tottering to its fall 
or marching to the military conquest of the world. 
On each one of these questions depended some 
aspect of policy involving lives, trade, finance, and 
national honor. It is important now to know what 
was the net effect of the news on these points. 

For the reader's convenience certain tentative 
conclusions from the evidence are stated here: 

1. From the overthrow of the Czar to the failure 
of the Galician offensive in July 1917. 

The difficulties in Russia, and especially 
in the Russian army, are not concealed 
from the attentive reader, but the domi- 
nant tendency of the captions and the 
emphasis is so optimistic as to be mis- 
leading. (See Section I.) 

2. From the military disaster in July 1917 to 
the Bolshevik revolution of November. 

The difficulties of the regime play a bigger 
part in the news, but a misleading opti- 
mism still continues. In this period, the 
tendency to seek a solution through a 
dictator-savior appears in the mistaken 
hope placed upon the Kornilov ad- 
venture, a hope quickly falsified by his 
collapse. It may fairly be said that the 
growth of the Bolshevik power from July 
to November must have been seriously 
underestimated in view of the success of 
the November coup. (See Section II.) 

3. From the Bolshevik revolution to the ratifi- 
cation of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. 

This period is on the whole the best in 
the three years. Different points of view 
are given, and the emphasis is generally 
neutral. After the recovery from the 
shock of the second revolution, the re- 
ports are inspired by an eager curiosity 
about the diplomatic battle between the 
Bolsheviks and the enemy. At the height 
of this diplomatic battle the news is 
handled in a rather uncritically pro- 
Bolshevik fashion, as a result of the 
optimistic assumption that the Soviets 
would refuse to make peace with 
Germany. (See Section III.) 

August 4, IQ20 


4. From the ratification at Brest-Litovsk, which 
coincided approximately with the Great Ger- 
man offensive in March 1918, to the decision 
for Allied intervention in August 19 18. 

Under the stress of disappointment and 
danger the tone and quality of the news 
change radically. Organized propaganda 
for intervention penetrates the news. This 
propaganda has two phases. There is a 
short and intense period in late March 
and early April, which stops rather sud- 
denly with the announcement that the 
President has decided against interven- 
tion. There is a prolonged and intense 
period beginning about May which cul- 
minates in the American approval of in- 
tervention. (See Section IV.) 

5. The months immediately following the sign- 
ing of the armistice. 

The Red Peril, which had hitherto 
played only an insignificant role, now 
takes precedence in the news from Russia 
and serves as a new motive for Allied 
intervention. (See Section V.) 

6. The Spring, Summer and Autumn of 19 19. 

Kolchak, Denikin and Yudenitch are 
heralded as dictator-saviors of Russia; 
for their campaigns, extravagant claims 
are made" when they are moving for- 
ward; in retreat there is a steady as- 
surance that a better turn is coming. 
(See Sections VI, VII, VIII, IX and X.) 
Meantime the world is warned against 
a Russian invasion of Poland — though 
Polish troops are as a matter of fact 
deep in Russian soil. (See Section XI.) 

7. The Winter of 1919-20 and the Spring of 


Once more, with the failure'of the White 
Armies, the Red Peril reappears. 
The news as a whole is dominated by the hopes 
of the men who composed the news organization. 
They began as passionate partisans in a great war 
in which their own country's future was at stake. 
Until the armistice they were interested in defeat- 
ing Germany. They hoped until they could hope 
no longer that Russia would fight. When they saw 
she could not fight, they worked for intervention 
as part of the war against Germany. When the 
war with Germany was over, the intervention still 
existed. They found reasons then for continuing 
the intervention. The German Peril as the reason 
for intervention ceased with the armistice; the Red 
Peril almost immediately afterwards supplanted it. 
The Red Peril in turn gave place to rejoicing over 
the hopes of the White Generals. When these 
hopes died, the Red Peril reappeared. In the large, 
the news about Russia is a case of seeing not what 
was, but what men wished to see. 

This deduction is more important, in the opinion 
of the authors, than any other. The chief censor 
and the chief propagandist were hope and fear 
in the minds of reporters and editors. They 
wanted to win the war; they wanted to ward off 
bolshevism. These subjective obstacles to the free 
pursuit of facts account for the tame submission of 
enterprising men to the objective censorship and 
propaganda under which they did their work. For 
subjective reasons they accepted and believed most 
of what they were told by the State Department, the 
so-called Russian Embassy in Washington, the 
Russian Information Bureau in New York, the 
Russian Committee in Paris, and the agents and 
adherents of the old regime all over Europe. For 
the same reason they endured the attention of 
officials at crucial points like Helsingfors, Omsk, 
Vladivostok, Stockholm, Copenhagen, London and 
Paris. For the same reason they accepted reports 
of governmentally controlled news services abroad, 
and of correspondents who were unduly intimate 
with the various secret services and with members 
of the old Russian nobility. 

From the point of view of professional journal- 
ism the reporting of the Russian Revolution is noth- 
ing short of a disaster. On the essential questions 
the net effect was almost always misleading, and 
misleading news is worse than none at all. Yet 
on the face of the evidence there is no reason to 
charge a conspiracy by Americans. They can fairly 
be charged with boundless credulity, and an untiring 
readiness to be gulled, and on many occasions with 
a downright lack of common sense. 

Whether they were "giving the public what it 
wants" or creating a public that took what it got, 
is beside the point. They were performing the 
supreme duty in a democracy of supplying the in- 
formation on which public opinion feeds, and they 
were derelict in that duty. Their motives may have 
been excellent. They wanted to win the war; they 
wanted to save the world. They were nervously 
excited by exciting events. They were baffled by 
the complexity of affairs, and the obstacles created 
by war. But whatever the excuses, the apologies, 
and the extenuation, the fact remains that a great 
people in a supreme crisis could not secure the 
minimum of necessary information on a supremely 
important event. When that truth has burned it- 
self into men's consciousness, they will examine 
the news in regard to other events, and begin a 
searching inquiry into the sources of public opinion. 
That is the indispensable preliminary to a funda- 
mental task of the Twentieth Century: the insur- 
ance to a free people of such a supply of news that 
a free government can be successfully administered. 

In devoting so long a study to the work of a 
single newspaper the authors have proceeded with- 
out animus against the Times, and with much ad- 
miration for its many excellent qualities. They 


JugUSt 4, 1Q20 

trust that the readers of this report, among them 
the proprietors and editors of the "Times," will 
not regard it as an "exposure" of the Times, 
but as a piece of inductive evidence on the problem 
of the news. The authors do not wish to imply, 
because honestly they do not believe, that the less 
conservative press is necessarily more reliable. As 
editors of a liberal weekly journal they know from 
experience that there are large glass windows in 
their own house, and they are keenly aware of the 
fact that reliability is harder to attain in the haste 
of a daily newspaper than in the greater delibera- 
tion of a periodical. If, consequently, nothing were 
at stake but the question of praise and blame, if 

nothing were to be accomplished beyond a score in 
the duel between liberal and conservative, then this 
report would not have been made. Something much 
greater is at issue, for the reliability of the news 
is the premise on; which democracy proceeds. 
A great > newspaper is a public service in- 
stitution. It occupies a position in public life fully 
as important as the school system or the church 
or the organs of government. It is entitled to 
criticism, and subject to criticism, as they are. The 
value of such criticism is directly proportionate to 
the steadiness with which the ultimate end of a 
better news system is clearly and dispassionately 
kept in mind. 

I. To the July Offensive 

The Russian Revolution occurred during the 
war with Germany. It was an event that affected 
immediately and directly the lives, the fortunes, 
and the dearest hopes of all nations engaged in 
the war. The Revolution began during the second 
week of March in the year 1917. This date is 
highly significant. It is about six weeks after the 
German Government had announced unlimited sub- 
marine war, and six weeks after the rupture of 
diplomatic relations by America. The Allies were 
confronted at the same moment by the uncertainty 
as to what Russia and what the United States 
would do. The United States was in the act of 
making up its mind to begin to fight. The 
question which dominated all the news out of 
Russia was whether the Russians would continue 
to fight. 

Thus, the circumstances of the Revolution were 
not such as to invite impartial inquiry. What the 
reader of newspapers was chiefly concerned about 
was the fighting power of Russia on the great east- 
ern front. He could hardly have expected a cur- 
rent history of so vast a revolution. He did ex- 
pect, and he had reason to demand, reliable reports 
about the morale and strength of Russia's armies. 
For on those reports he had to arrive at judgments 
of supreme practical importance. 

The reliability of the news for the first four 
months can fairly be measured by this one con- 
crete test: did it give a tolerably true account of 
Russia's military strength? Did the news lead to 
correct or incorrect expectations? 

The actual military power of Russia was tested 
against Germany just once. In July 1917, about 
three and a half months after the Revolution* 
the army attacked on a wide front in Galicia. After 
a small initial success the offensive collapsed, the 
Germans attacked and pierced the Russian front; 
there were mutinies followed by a rout. The of- 

ficial Russian Communique (per British Admiralty 
per Wireless Press, Petrograd, July 22) said of 
the disaster: u This is the result of the instabil- 
ity of our troops, disregard for military orders, 
and the propaganda of the Maximalists." What 
had the news for the weeks from March to July 

Two Views of Russia's Power 

The Times of March 16 published the report 
of the successful revolution. Together with ad- 
mirably full accounts of events in Petrograd, there 
began a series of semi-editorial news dispatches. 
Thus (special cable to the New York Times, Lon- 
don, March 16) : 

"As the situation is explained to The New York 
Times correspondent, the revolution simply means 
[italics ours] that German sympathizers within the 
Russian Government have been overthrown, and that 
no chance remains for a separate peace being secretly 
arranged with Germany. This, it is felt, is the real 
basis of the revolution. . . ." 

Such was the official public British theory. In the 
same issue Mr. Bonar Law (unidentified dispatch 
from London, March 15*) was quoted as saying 
that the revolution was due to Russia's pur- 
pose to fight the war out. This was, of course, 
not a statement of fact, but the expression of a 

This wish was father to much of the news which 
followed for several months. Concurrently, there 
were, however, other interpretations of the Revolu- 
tion. On March 16 the Times published, of 

*A dispatch is called "unidentified" when it has no other 
reference to source beyond place of origin and date. That 
is, the carrying agent is not named. 

August 4, IQ20 


course obscurely, an interview with Leon Trotzky: 



Leo Trotzky, a Russian revolutionist now in 
America, said last night in the office of the Novy 
Mir .... that the committee which has taken the 
place of the deposed Ministry in Russia did not rep- 
resent the interests or the aims of the revolutionists, 
that it would probably be short lived, and step down 
in favor of men who would be more sure to carry for- 
ward the democratization of Russia .... That the 
cause of the revolution was the unrest of the mass 
of the people who were tired of war and that the 
real object .... was to end war .... throughout 
Europe. They do not favor Germany .... but wish 
to stop fighting." 

Two days later, issue of March 18 (Berlin 
March 17, by wireless to the New York Times 
via Tuckerton, N. J.) the Times printed a report 
saying that the general opinion in Berlin was that 
the new government could not last long and that 
the lower classes were wishing for peace at any 

There were thus two alternative theories: one 
the official Allied theory that Russia would fight; 
the other, the theory of an unknown Russian revo- 
lutionist in New York and of "general opinion in 
Berlin" that Russia would not fight. The bulk of 
the news which followed appeared to sustain the 
official theory. 

Three and a half months elapsed to the 
offensive of July. The reader had by that 
time perused 107 issues of his paper, practically 
all of them containing news of the Rus- 
sian Revolution. He had received hints of 
profound economic disorder, of demoralization 
in the army, and of confused dissatisfaction with 
the Allies. He was in a position to guess that the 
striking power of Russia was not great, if he read 
all the obscurely placed dispatches, read between 
the lines of the other dispatches, and sternly de- 
clined to let his hopes govern his judgment. 

But if he read casually, and chiefly the captions 
and emphasized news, the impression of hopeful- 
ness, or at least of whistling to keep up hope, would 
have been strong. Captions or prominent news on 
the following days all of them stated or implied a 
Russian will to fight. 

March 16 2 , 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 2 — 9 
issues, 1 1 items. 

2, 10, 12, 14, 18, 19 2 , 20 2 , 21, 22, 24 s , 
28, 29, 30 2 — 13 issues, 17 items. 

3, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 2 , 


?3» 2 5> 

28 2 , 29 2 , 31 — 16 issues, 19 

June 2, 3, 4 2 , 5, 6 2 , 7, 8 2 , 9, n, 13*, 15, 16, 

17, l8 2 , 19, 2I 2 , 22, 23, 24 2 , 25 2 , 27 2 , 

28 2 , 29, 30 2 — 24 issues, 35 items. 
Total 62 issues, 82 items. 

Thus oftener than every other day for the whole 
period the reader was assured that Russia would 
fight, or that the Russian army was strong, or that 
the difficulties were being surmounted. Ordeal by 
battle proved all these assurances to be false. 

Was a darker picture ever suggested? It was. 
In 49 different issues of the Times there were per- 
haps 66 items of pessimistic character. Numer- 
ically this seems to strike a tolerably even balance : 
Optimistic: 62 issues, 82 items. 
Pessimistic: 49 issues, 66 items. 

Reputable and Disreputable 

But closer examination of what has been included 
under "optimistic" and "pessimistic" reveals a far 
greater discrepancy than the figures show. Take 
for example the first day's news (March 16). 
We have called optimistic the unidentified London 
dispatch (March 15) quoting Mr. Bonar Law 
that the revolution was due to Russia's purpose to 
fight the war out; we have also called optimistic the 
dispatch from London (March 16) printed on 
the first page saying: 

"As the situation is explained to The New York 
Times correspondent, the revolution simply means 
that German sympathizers within the Russian Gov- 
ernment have been overthrown . . . ." 

Compare these authoritative pronouncements 
with the "pessimistic" item printed at the foot of 
the fifth column of the fourth page quoting Leo 
(sic) Trotzky from his New York office as saying 
that the people wished to stop fighting. Trotzky 
happened to be right, Mr. Bonar Law and the 
people who interpreted the Revolution in London 
to the Times correspondent happened to be dead 
wrong. But which interpretation was emphasized, 
and given the authority of the editors? The of- 
ficial and the optimistic, of course, against the ob- 
scure and the unpleasant. The unsatisfactory view 
was not suppressed, but it was ignored or played 
down. This is characteristic of the news of the 
period we are considering. The values placed upon 
news items were wrong, wrong by the ultimate test 
of battle. 

It is easy to see how this came about. There 
was an initial desire, shared by the editors and 
readers of the Times, to have Russia fight, to se- 
cure the military assistance of Russia without open- 
ing up contentious questions of war aims, to smoth- 
er pacifist agitation. Conflicting estimates of Rus- 
sian strength and weakness came to the Times office. 
One series was optimistic. The other pessimistic. 
The optimistic series had the right of way. 


August 4 } ig2o 

Then, too, the sources of the optimistic reports 
were such as to commend themselves more readily 
to the credulity of men who have high respect for 
prestige. Out of 82 optimistic items approximately 
49 emanated directly from official sources includ- 
ing the Provisional Government, the American 
State Department, Ambassador Francis, the Root 
mission, etc. The remaining 33 are from sources 
including 4 Renter, 1 Harold Williams, 2 Herbert 
Bailey, 1 Special New York Times, 1 London 
Times, 5 London Daily Chronicle, 13 unidenti- 
fied, the rest scattering. 

When there were at least 49 official assurances 
and thirty odd more from sources of recognized 
authority in a period of 107 days it is not surpris- 
ing that the net tone of the news about Russia was 
optimistic. It is even less surprising when the 
character of the 66 pessimistic items is examined. 
If we add together the distinctly unpopular and 
therefore incredible sources, that is the German, the 
Bolshevik, the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' 
Deputies, and the items tagged and peppered with 
epithets, the total is 36. 

Thus out of 82 optimistic items, 49 are from 
friendly official sources, and the rest from respect- 
able ones; out of 66 pessimistic items 36 are dis- 
tinctly disreputable, and of the thirty remaining 
practically none contains more than a fragmentary 
hint of the real difficulty iri Russia as later revealed 
by the collapse of the July offensive, the first Bol- 
shevik rebellion, and the ultimate fall of the Pro- 
visional Government. 

It remains to be noted however that the optimis- 
tic items carried their own antidote to the sophisti- 
cated reader. The very fact that it was necessary 
to proclaim the solidarity and strength of Russia 
every other day was a suspicious fact. Reiteration 
emphasized doubt, and trained readers were ena- 
bled to reach conclusions quite opposite from those 
insisted upon in the general intent of the news. But 
what chance had they of persuading the casual 
reader that Russian affairs required his earnest 
attention. Was the casual reader, absorbed in 
our own war activities, not told about every 
other day that he could afford to be compla- 

11. The Prelude to Bolshevism 

Misleading Optimism 

The military weakness of Russia was clear to 
all observers on the spot after what Kerensky calls 
the "Tarnopol disgrace" of July 19. The condition 
of the army was explained by the Russian official 
communique (British Admiralty per Wireless Press, 
Petrograd, July 22) ; the condition behind the lines 
was indicated by the abortive Bolshevik rebellion 
of July 16-18. The most obvious facts no longer 
justified the complacency which had dominated the 
news. "Something" had to be done by somebody. 

There were, roughly speaking, three parties con- 
tending for power; the Left led by the Bolsheviks, 
the center led by Kerensky, and the Right led by 
someone in the role of a Dictator-Savior. The 
Bolshevik uprising of July was suppressed by 
Kerensky's government For the next two months 
the contenders, on the surface at least, are the Right 
and the Center parties. The Kornilov rebellion in 
September was the first of the many efforts of the 
Right to establish a Dictator-Savior. The rebellion 
was easily put down by Kerensky. The government 
had thus survived first an attack from the Left, and 
then an attack from the Right. But within a few 
days of the suppression of Kornilov there is un- 
mistakable evidence of the rise of the third power 
— that of the Bolsheviki. On September 19, six 
days after the General's capitulation, the Petrograd 
Soviet passed from Menshevik and Social Revolu- 

tionary control into Bolshevik hands, and the next 
day (September 20) the Moscow Soviet for the 
first time refused a vote of confidence in the gov- 
ernment of Kerensky. In five weeks that govern- 
ment had fallen. 

Every shred of justification for complacent op- 
timism had ceased by July 19. The correspondents 
in Russia abandoned it Mr. Harold Williams, 
in the Times of July 28, speaks of "this hour of 
national disgrace . . . how can Russia be saved . . . 
the shameful collapse of (the) armies." But 
though the Times of July 23 had printed a three 
column head saying: 



Nevertheless the Times of July 28 carried the 
following dispatch from Washington: "The State 
Department has advices by cable that the defeat 
of the Russian Army on the Galician front has had 
a wholesome effect in Petrograd." 

Meantime the headlines showed a continued op- 
timism, as the following samples show: 

July 30 





August 4, IQ20 


Aug. 2 

Aug. 4 

Aug. 5 

Aug. 7 



























Aug. 20 


Thus from the military rout in July to the verge 
of the Kornilov conspiracy, on the average once 
every other day, a certain show of optimism is 
made. It is derived from official reports of minor 
engagements, from advices to the State Department, 
and from the Russian Government. The persistent 
will to believe is illustrated by the Times of July 
24. The captions read as follows: 





Is it not just fq say that the newspaper is a mis- 
leading optimist which regards the capture of 1,000 
prisoners as of greater significance than the col- 
lapse of the whole front down to the Carpathians? 
It was not always possible, of course, to extract 
hope out of a desperate situation, but on fourteen 
days out of twenty-two the caption writer succeeds. 
On the following dates he announces reverses: July 
20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31, Aug. 3, 17, 23, 24. No 

doubt there were minor successes, but the net 
disaster was indisputable. Therefore the interlard- 
ing of the news of big defeats with little resistances 
and verbal optimism must be described as confusing 
in its total effect. The presentation of news values 
is eccentric, and distorts the main picture. 

The Quest of a Dictator-Savior 

But parallel with all this runs a great theme of 
the Russian news: the theme of the Dictator- 
Savior and the strong man. This quest appears 
many times throughout the three years of the re- 
volution dealt with in this study. It culminates as 
all the world knows, in Kolchak, Denikin, and 
Yudenitch, but it emerges long before. The first 
choice of the correspondents, curiously enough, is 
Kerensky himself. The faith in Kerensky is short- 
lived, but strenuous while it lasts : 



"Kerensky, who possesses all Peter the Great's 
energy and twice his wisdom, is the national hero 
.... It fa new Czardom] would give the imagina- 
tive peasants some one in whom to place that loyalty 
which they could never accord with the same enthus- 
iasm to a blackcoated President." (Herbert Bailey, 
Special to the New York Times, Petrograd, July 21.) 

That Kerensky did not altogether disdain the 
role of strong man is indicated by his interview 
to the Associated Press (Issue of July 25) which 
the Times heads : 



Mr. Harold Williams has at this time bjegun to 
cast about for a savior. Being better informed 
than Mr. Bailey, he has never taken very seriously 
the dictatorship of Kerensky. In the Times of July 
26, he notes that the Council of Workmen's 
and Soldiers' Delegates attached a string to 
Kerensky's unlimited power by demanding an 
accounting not less than twice a week. And two 
days later he is aware of "the brave commander 
on the southwestern front, General Kornilov." 
Other correspondents present other guesses as to 
where the saving force is to be found. Thus in 
the issue of August 31, the London Times cor- 
respondent (Moscow, August 28), makes what 
appears to be the first sketch of the geographical 
area on which the counter-revolutions of Kolchak 
and Denikin were later organized. Over a year 
before the event he discovers that 

"The Knights of St. George, representing 8o,ooo,- 



JugUSt sf, IQ20 

ooo acres, (sic) have combined in military leagues 
.... There is a solid (italics ours) block far ex- 
ceeding in size and population the combined strength 
of the Central Empires. From Lake Baikal to the 
Dniester, from the Don to the Persian border, loyal 
sons of Russia are ready to rise against the forces of 
disintegration and defeat." 

The Times heads this dispatch: 

No less interesting and prophetic is the appear- 
ance of the first argument for external military 
intervention in Russia. While Messrs. Bailey and 
Williams and the London Times correspondent are 
looking for loyal Russians, the French authorities 
are thinking of the Japanese army. The Times of 
August 23, in a box on the first page, prints an 
unidentified dispatch from Paris, August 22, which 

"The Figaro today asks if the moment has not ar- 
rived for Japan to take further steps in the war .... 

The Petit Journal, in an editorial along the same . . 
lines . . . .adds that never will the Japanese troops 
be more needed on the Russian front than they are 
today." [Italics ours.] 

The reader will note the common inspiration of 
these French newspapers and the synchronism of 
the publication with the bad news of the German 
offensive against Riga. With such estimates of 
the Russian problem in their minds, and with such 
prepossessions, it is not surprising that the news- 
men were completely taken in by the Kornilov 

The Kornilov Rebellion 

The historical evidence about the affair is still 
a matter of hot dispute, and there is much mystery 
about the role of the various personalities who 
figured prominently in the intrigue. This aspect 
of the affair the correspondents did not report at 
length, and could not have been expected to report. 
But the facts which concerned the American reader 
were simple. Did Kornilov represent the power 
of Russia? Were those who gathered about him 
the effective substance of the nation? Was he, in 
brief, the real thing, or a flash in the pan? 

He was a distinguished officer of the General 
Staff, a Cossack, who had been appointed com- 
mander-in-chief by Kerensky himself after the de- 
feat of July. According to his own proclamation,* 
issued September 9, his purpose in rebelling against 
the Provisional Government of Kerensky and start- 
ing to march on Petrograd, was "the preservation 
of a Great Russia." He swore u to carry over the 
people, by means of a victory over the enemy, to 
the Constituent Assembly at which it will decide its 
own fate and choose the order of the new state 
life." He was, in other words, to be a temporary 

military dictator acting as a savior of his country. 
Kerensky in a proclamation*, also issued September 
9, denounced him as a counter-revolutionist, rep- 
resenting "a desire of some circles of Russian 
society to take advantage of the grave condition 
of the state for the purpose of establishing in the 
country a state of authority in contradiction to the 
conquests of the revolution." The rebellion was 
proclaimed on September 9. By September 12 the 
Associated Press correspondent in Petrograd de- 
scribed the coup as a failure. Kornilov was sup- 
pressed practically without bloodshed. 

Nevertheless the special correspondents showed 
their credulity about the possibilities of a military 
dictator. As early as July 31, the reporter of the 
London Morning Post cables (New York Times 
of August 3) that "from intimations I have re- 
ceived I gather that the fighting Generals have 
placed before Kerensky what amounts to an ulti- 
matum from the officers of Russia's armies." Note 
that the soldiers of Russia's armies do not appear. 
On August 29 the Times carried, under headlines 
announcing u Hailed as Russia's Savior," ^ Mos- 
cow dispatch reporting that "at present the name 
of General Kornilov is on every tongue." Mr. 
Harold Williams, to be sure, noted in a cable pub- 
lished the next day that the executives of the Coun- 
cil of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates refused 
to stand or to greet Kornilov at the Moscow Con- 

But the bulk of the dispatches during the two 
weeks following were highly optimistic. The 
counter-revolutionists were described as riding on 
■to glory. "Great New Power Rising in Russia," 
said a headline in the Times, August 31. "Kor- 
nilov commands confidence in military circles," 
cabled Mr. Charles H. Grasty on September n, 
"not only on his record as an officer, but because he 
is a Cossack. This is the tribe around which intel- 
ligent opinion in Western Europe has been cluster- 
ing hopefully for several months past." [Italics 

News of the actual revolt was cabled that same 
day from London. "There is yet no indication of 
General Kornilov's intentions," said a special dis- 
patch to the Times, "but it is known that the Cos- 
sacks, the backbone of the Russian Army, are his 
strong adherents." 

Yet two days later the Kornilov revolt was a 
confessed fiasco. "Kornilov Gives Up, Revolt 
Ends," said a headline in the Times, September 14. 
Where, one wonders, were the Cossacks who three 
days before were "known" in London to be Kor- 
nilov's "strong adherents" and "the backbone of 
the Russian Army"? A fortnight later Mr. Har- 
old Williams, in a special to the Times from Petro- 

* Printed in "The Prelude to Bolshevism," by A. F. 
Kerensky; Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1919. 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 


grad, dated September 26, blurted out the follow- 

"The Kornilov affair has intensified mutual dis- 
trust and completed the work of destruction. The 
Government is shadowy and unreal, and what per- 
sonality it had has disappeared before the menace 
of the democratic conference. Whatever power there 
is, is again concentrated in the hands of the Soviets, 
and, as always happens when the Soviets secure a 
monopoly of power, the influence of the Bolsheviks 
has increased enormously." [Italics ours.] 

So runs the obituary by a friend of the first 

In view of the fact that the Soviets seized the 
government six weeks after this dispatch was filed, 
Mr. Williams had reported news of the first im- 
portance. Does the news for the next six weeks, 
the last weeks before the triumph of Bolshevism, 
follow the lead given so clearly by Mr. Williams? 

The End of Kerensky 

The news out of Russia for the first ten days 
of October does not minimize the increasing diffi- 
culties of the existing regime. But the news com- 
ment out of Washington on October 10 (unidenti- 
fied dispatch from Washington, October 9), is this: 

"Russian diplomats here appear to be convinced 
now that the Bolsheviks have been finally over- 
thrown and that Premier Kerensky is once more 
firmly established in the supreme power. 

"It was said at the embassy today that the Bol- 
sheviks were greatly discouraged by their first at- 
tempt to obtain control of the Government, on July 
8, when disturbances caused by them were sup- 
pressed by the provisional authorities, and again dur- 
ing the Kornilov movement, when the Bolsheviks 
seized upon that occasion to overthrow the coalition 
administration. The action of the democratic con- 
ference in upholding the principle of a coalition 
Cabinet was asserted to reveal the total defeat of 
the extreme radicals." 

Nevertheless the correspondents in Russia are 
agreed as to the crisis, thus: 



Oct. 2$ "The evening newspapers which publish 
the program for the meeting of the Central Council 
of Soldiers' and Workmen's Delegates on Nov. 2 
are filled with rumors of a Bolsheviki demonstra- 
tion and an attempt to seize the Government. . . ." 



Nov. 2 This was the day on which the Times 

printed briefly Kerensky's historic interview to the 
Associated Press: (Petrograd, November 1.) 
(The longer text was printed November 3.) 

But the State Department in Washington knew 
better: It issued a statement that: 

"There has been absolutely nothing in the dispatches 
received by the Department of State from Russia, nor 
in information derived from any other source what- 
ever, to justify the impression created by the Washing- 
ton Post to-day .... that Russia is out of the conflict." 

Nov. 3 (Special to New York Times, Washing- 
ton, November 2.) 

"Russia is not out of the war. She is to make 
no separate peace. The Russian Embassy and the 
State Department made this clear today." 

Nov. 4 From London, Kerensky's interview was 
deprecated. (London, November 3.) 

"The Petrograd correspondent of The Daily 
Telegraph, who is now in London, writes: 'Premier 
Kerensky's statement seems to have been taken a lit- 
tle too seriously in some quarters.' " 

The Graphic (London) is quoted: "We should 
hate to regard the statements as authentic. They 
have the ring of pro-German propaganda!* [Italics 

Nov. 6 On this day, the Times printed obscure- 
ly on the fourth column of the fourth page the fol- 
lowing news of world-wide importance: 




(London, Nov. 5). "At a meeting in Petrograd 
on Saturday, as reported in an Exchange Telegraph 
dispatch from that city, representatives of the whole 
Petrograd garrison passed under the guidance and 
influence of the Bolsheviks. . . ." 

The issues of November 7 and 8 carry the news 
of the Bolshevik Revolution, culminating on No- 
vember 9, with the six-column headline on the first 



The reader who had ignored the State Depart- 
ment and the Russian Embassy for the six weeks 
preceding, and had read the news dispatches from 
Russia, had no reason to be surprised. The reader 
who had trusted official pronouncements was mis- 

The Provisional Government having been over- 
thrown by the Soviets, he was concerned in the 
weeks that followed, first, as to whether the 
Bolsheviks would last, second, as to what they 
would do about the war. 



August 4, 1920 

in. The Withdrawal of Russia 

Would the Soviets Last? 

Naturally there was doubt as to the stability of 
this strange new regime. Russian experts in Amer- 
ica were at once interviewed: 
Nov. 9. Herman Bernstein: 

"It can't win .... for Lenin and Trotzky are both 
extremely unpopular. They had a better chance 
last July .... the popular execration directed against 
Lenin .... was such as to convince me that he will 
never be able to dominate the Russian people." 

Mr. Alexander Sakhnovsky, Agent of the 
Zemstvos : 

"A man like Prince Lvov would be considerably 
more useful, and I believe, from the reports I 
receive, that sentiment in Russia is setting in that 
direction. As for the Grand Duke Michael, he has 
always been very popular . . . ." 

A special dispatch to the Times (Washington, 
November 8) declared: 

"No doubt was expressed in diplomatic circles that 
the Allied Powers would recognize any Government 
formed to oppose the Bolsheviki .... Moscow was 
regarded as the probable choice for the provisional 
capital, because all the elements there have been in 
sympathy with the Government as against the ex- 
tremist Socialists. Moscow also is held to be a more 
purely Russian city . . . ." 

The question of the stability of the Bolshevik 
regime is of course a fundamental question of the 
Russian news. Correct information on that point 
is the premise of correct information on many 
other great themes; the relation of Bolshevism to 
Germany, the value and the possibility of military 
intervention, the prospects of the White Generals, 
the reality of the Red Peril, and the problem 
of peace. For if the regime was temporary, then 
its diplomacy as against Germany and the Allies 
was not particularly significant, the possibility of 
successful intervention was greater, the prospects 
of the White Generals were brighter, the menace 
was smaller, and the problem of peace might be 
postponed. If on the other hand, the Soviet power 
was firmly rooted in the Russian people, then it 
was Russia, and its diplomacy mattered enormous- 
ly, intervention was impracticable, the prospects of 
the generals poor, the menace worth serious con- 
sideration, and peace a pressing matter. 

The Soviet Government was still in existence in 
March, 1920, when this study closes. It had lasted 
29 months up to that time and had brought all of 
Central Russia from the Arctic Ocean to the Cau- 
casus, as well as Siberia, at least to Lake Baikal, 
under its jurisdiction. Whether it was a good 

regime or an intolerable one is not the question, nor 
in fact has it ever been the important question in 
America's relation to Russia. What mattered 
fundamentally in all those months of grave de- 
cision was whether it was an enduring regime. The 
historic fact is that the regime did endure for the 
whole time we are now discussing. It may fall 
any day; it may last for a generation. That is of 
no consequence. News reports in 1917, 1918, 
1919, and early 1920 that the Soviets are about 
to collapse, or have collapsed, or will collapse 
within a few weeks is false news) and it will not 
be true news if the Soviet regime should collapse 
late in 1920 or thereafter. 

That the Soviet government could last only for 
the moment was one of the most insistent of all 
themes in the news of Russia. Within a few days 
after the November coup it had made its first ap- 
pearance. On November 13 (19 17) the Times 
published a special dispatch from Washington, as- 

"All doubt that the Maximalists in Petrograd will 

be deposed has disappeared in Government and 

diplomatic quarters here." 

It seemed only to be a question of who would fol- 
low next: 

"Officials are now debating whether Premier Ker- 
ensky, General Kornilov, or some other leader will 
take charge of the Government to rise out of the 
ashes of Maximalist authority. The complete over- 
throw of the Bolsheviki is predicted." 

Many times, in the months which followed, that 
overthrow was predicted. No other note appeared 
more faithfully and with emphasis so certain. In 
the two years from November, 1917, to Novem- 
ber, 19 19, no less than ninety-one times was it 
stated that the Soviets were nearing their rope's 
end, or actually had reached it 

In arriving at this computation no count is made 
of the ordinary reports that Russia was in chaos — 
though such reports of course implied a weaken- 
ing in the prestige and authority of the government 
attempting to wield power. What is counted, in 
arriving at the figure ninety-one, are reports more 
explicitly reporting an early break-up. For in- 
stance, thirty different times the power of the Sovi- 
ets was definitely described as being on the wane. 
Twenty times there was news of a serious counter- 
revolutionary menace. Five times was the explicit 
statement made that the regime was certain to col- 
lapse. And fourteen times that collapse was said 
to be in progress. Four times Lenin and Trotzky 
were planning flight. Three times they had al- 
ready fled. Five times the Soviets were "totter- 
ing." Three times their fall was imminent." Once 

August 4, IQ20 



desertions in the Red army had reached propor- 
tions alarming to the government. Twice Lenin 
planned retirement; once he had been killed; and 
three times he was thrown in prison. 

Insistently appearing in the news, the steady 
repetition in these reports left its inevitable im- 
pression on the reader. How trustworthy were the 
sources from which this material was drawn? 

The smaller part of it came via the shortest 
route available: that is, as the observation of men 
or of some group of men who, whatever their per- 
sonal bias — even though it be the bias that might 
accompany a salary coming from some rival Rus- 
sian faction — were at least cited by name as au- 
thority for the news. That method accounts for 
twenty of the dispatches tallied in the present list. 
On certain other occasions there was an official or 
pseudo-official source implied. Thus we have "ad- 
vices to the State Department, 1 ' "officials of the 
State Department," and "government and diplo- 
matic sources in Washington" — each quoted in one 
instance. Six more dispatches Avere drawn from 
statements or publications credited to the Soviet 
government itself. That brings the total up to 
twenty-nine, all accounted for with sources possess- 
ing some measure of authority. Sixty-two are left. 
And for those sixty-two there is less that can be 

The source of information, where cited, is 
vague at best: "sources familiar with the Russian 
situation in its many phases" (London) ; a Stock- 
holm dispatch to Paris; the opinion of some man 
or group of men unnamed; "reports reaching Lon- 
don from Petrograd"; "reports reaching London 
from Peking and Copenhagen"; dispatches from 
Copenhagen to the Exchange Telegraph Company, 
London; correspondents of German newspapers, 
of Swedish papers and of Danish papers; unidenti- 
fied dispatches from Reval, from Geneva, from 
Stockholm and from Helsingfors etc. Individual- 
ly the sending of a news dispatch based upon sec- 
ond-, third- or fourth-hand authority was a natural 
enough procedure. A correspondent in Copen- 
hagen, perhaps, saw in some Danish journal a re- 
port coming from Stockholm that someone else 
believed counter-revolution menaced the Soviet au- 
thority. That was "news," he judged, worth cab- 
ling to America. Collectively, however, the re- 
ports have no such incidental character. From 
the first days of Soviet power they have paint- 
ed a picture which the event itself has proved to 
be misleading. They have prophecied what did 
not happen. But they have left, in the minds of 
those who read them, an effect of real impor- 

Later themes find expression. At times the Red 
Peril momentarily overshadows the conception of 
Soviet power as an institution verging on collapse. 
But over a space of many months, recurring like the 

major theme in a Wagnerian opera, comes this note 
of Soviet impermanency. What its net effect has 
been is plain. It has nourished the policy of lais- 
sez-faire. Creating the impression that a few days 
more and there would be no Soviet power left to 
worry over, it helped postpone from month to 
month an insistence that in the face of definite fact 
the Allied statesmen must revaluate their policy of 
indecision, intervention and blockade. 

During the Parleys at Brest- 

The midwinter of 19 17-18 is worth more de- 
tailed examination, because it has a character of 
its own. 

News items suggesting that the regime was tem- 
porary appeared as follows. This tabulation is 
more inclusive than that above for reasons of fair- 
ness which will be evident. It is more inclusive in 
that items merely suggesting weakness are ad- 
mitted, whereas they are excluded above. 

November 9 4 , io 2 , n 2 , 12 4 , 13 4 , 16, 17, 19 2 . 
December 2, 10, n 2 , 12, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27. 
January 9, 10. 

February 2 2 , 7, 8, 9, 18 2 , 19, 20, 21 2 , 23, 25, 28. 
Totals : 

Items in November 20 

" " December 10 

" " January 2 

" " February 14 

What strikes the eye immediately is the scarcity 
of the items in January. The first of the two items 
appeared January 9. It is a special to the New 
York Times from Harold Williams (Petrograd, 
January 6) headed: 





The second item on January 10 is a dispatch 
from the Petrograd correspondent of the London 
Times, headed: 



Within a few days this picture of Russia was dis- 
puted. Cables from Stockholm, London and Petro- 
grad reported that the Soviets had put their hands 
on fresh stores of food from the Ukraine, that they 
had successfully crushed a counter-revolution, and 
that in the opinion of Sir George Buchanan (British 
Ambassador) Lenin was firm in the saddle, not 
to be overthrown for the present. The Soviets 



August 4, IQ20 

seemed to be gaining ground. In fact, on January 
29 headlines in the Times reported 



And this was the word that followed: 

"The Bolshevist movement is sincere, Professor 
Ross said, springing from the heart of Russia itself 
and having as its object the liberation of the people, 
the establishment of world peace, and the institution 
of a system of pure industrial socialism." 

Thus the two dispatches indicating serious weak- 
ness, are neutralized by news that the Soviets are 
fairly strong. November and December preceding 
report great weakness; so do the months following. 
What is there that is peculiar about the month of 
January, 19 1 8 ? 

Trotzky was debating with the Germans 
at Brest-Litovsk and defying them; Lloyd 
George made his speech proposing a con- 
ciliatory peace; President Wilson announced 
the Fourteen Points, with a most sympathetic ref- 
erence to Russia. Is there any connection between 
these events and the rather favorable view taken 
in the news of Russia's stability? Let us examine 
the manner in which the peace negotiations between 
Germany and Russia were handled. 

During November, statements by Lenin and 
Trotzky appear disavowing the idea of a separ- 
ate peace, (November 24, 26). On the other 
hand Mr. Harold Williams states categorically 
within three weeks of the revolution (Times of 
November 24, special dispatch from Petrograd, 
November 22, delayed) that the Russian masses 
were forcing the hands of the Bolsheviks by de- 
manding the execution of promises. In the issue 
of December 5 Mr. Williams says (Special to 
the Times from Petrograd, December 3) that: 

"The Bolshevist movement is by no means simple. 
It is a curious jumble of conflicting elements ranging 
from the purest idealism to German intrigue and 
reactionary monarchism. These elements are tem- 
porarily agreed in a peace policy, and derive their 
authority from the strong pacifist tendencies of the 
soldiers and Socialists and the pacifist mood of the 
workmen, ... In any case, the fact must be faced 
that, one way or the other, Russia, despite the will 
of the best elements of the population, will have to 
retire from the war. . . . We cannot contemptuously 
abandon this whole, great people because of a tem- 
porary fit of madness, the causes of which lie deep in 
the history of years of oppression." (Italics ours.) 

Mr. Williams in subsequent dispatches emphasiz- 
ed the basic demoralization of Russia's will to fight. 
But as the parleys at Brest-Litovsk open, hope re- 
vives with Trotzky in the center of the stage. Some 
of the captions run as follows: 













The optimistic and friendly quality of these re- 
ports was no doubt a reflection of official opinion 
in England, and of Trotzky' s own opinions. The 
spell of Trotzky's defiance at Brest-Litovsk per- 
vades the news. Even Mr. Harold Williams is 
temporarily under it, though he had written earlier 
with hard realism that Russia would not and could 
not fight. Mr. Arthur Ransome was even more 
thoroughly spell-bound. Trotzky was in good odor 
most of January, 19 18. So good, in fact, that on 
January 20 the Times reported: 



". . . . Attorney General Merton F. Lewis insti- 
tuted an investigation as to Trotzky's activities dur- 
ing that part of 191 7 when he was in New York. 
The investigation was made at the request of the 
Department of Justice in Washington. Deputy At- 
torney General Alfred R. Becker was in charge, and 
the report of the investigation which is now com- 
pleted is to the effect that no evidence was obtained 
to support any charge that Trotzky ever received any 
German money while in New York." 

Two days later, however, Mr. Harold Williams in 
a special dispatch from Petrograd interrupted the 
optimistic series by reporting that the Bolsheviks 
were a symbol of volcanic forces, that they were 
not pacifists, and that they had stopped the war with 
Germany only, to kindle civil war. 

August 4, ig20 



Faith in the Bolsheviks Dis- 

Hope that the Bolsheviks would somehow con- 
tinue to fight faded rapidly by the end of January, 
and terminated abruptly on February 12 by the 
declaration of the Soviet government that the war 
was over. A new period opens almost immediate- 
ly. It is the period of the preparation for inter- 

Up to the time when Russia went out of the war 
the dominant tendency of the news is to be opti- 
mistic about the government in power. In their 
turn, Lvov, Milukov, Kerensky, Kornilov and 
Trotzky had been reported as favorable to the 
Allied cause. Even the Bolsheviks, denounced 
while in opposition to Kerensky, were treated with- 
out obvious prejudice once they were established, 
and while they were still defying Germany. The 
judgment of reporters and caption-writers was 
governed, on the whole uniformly, by the will to 
believe that Russia would assist the Allies. That 
the events falsified this optimism again and again 
shows how strongly the wish intruded upon objec- 
tive judgment. For while reporters in Russia did 
advert on numerous occasions to the basic demoral- 
ization of the war-weary people, those dispatches 
flickered and disappeared in the prevailing desire 
to maintain an eastern front. That this motive was 
stronger initially than any hatred of Bolshevism, 
any fear of the Red Peril, is shown rather emphat- 
ically by the very friendly character of the news 
during the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, The in- 
formal recognition of the Soviet Government by 
Great Britain, the idealization of Russia contained 
in President Wilson's address of January 8, ela- 
tion over the strikes in Germany and Austria, and a 
good deal of war-weariness in Western Europe, — 
all coincide with news about Russia which is, to 
say the least, sympathetic to the Soviets. 

From the Revolution of March, 19 17, to the 
final collapse of the eastern front in early Febru- 
ary, 19 1 8, it is just to say that a strong bias is re- 
flected in the presentation of the news. It is the 
bias of hope, and this bias persistently plays down 
news of Russia's weakness and plays up announce- 
ments and events which sustain hope. There were 
plenty of exceptions, of course, and we have tried 
faithfully to give them full value in what has pre- 
ceded. We assert nothing more than the existence 
of a dominant tendency in the general course of the 
news, a tendency contradicted by indisputable 
events. Up to this point at least, we do not believe 
that on the face of the news any case appears point- 
ing to the existence of an organized propaganda 
working behind the censorship. The evidence, in 
our opinion, disproves such a charge, and vindi- 
cates the good will of those who prepared and re- 
ported the news. The difficulties revealed are pro- 
fessional: where the news is misleading in the net 
effect it is because the emphasis has been misplaced 
by the powerful passions of a great war. 

The period which follows the withdrawal of 
Russia shows a radical change in the character of 
the news. In order to understand that change it is 
necessary to recall that the final loss of Russia was 
a frightful disappointment, that the German of- 
fensive of March was the supreme military crisis 
of the war. The period we are approaching now 
transcends all others in its desperate significance. 
It begins with what looked to the western world like 
downright betrayal, for the Allies stood face to 
face with a Germany freed from Russian pressure 
on the eastern front. These facts bear heavily on 
the quality of the news which follows. The pat- 
riotic men who were engaged in furnishing the 
news about Russia had hoped in vain through 
twelve anxious months. That the threshold of 
their credulity was almost immediately lowered 
should surprise no one. 

IV. The Appeal for Intervention 

On February 12, 19 18, the Times published 
its obituary on Russia as a belligerent. On Feb- 
ruary 26 appeared the famous Grasty interview 
with Foch, (Special to the New York Times, 
Paris, February 25) : 

"If America will look ahead I am sure she will see 
another field in which she can render immense service 
without relaxing her efforts on the western front. 
She should give her attention to the Orient 

"Germany is walking through Russia. America 
and Japan, who are in a position to do so, should go 
to meet her in Siberia. Both for the war and after 
America and Japan must furnish military and eco- 

nomic resistance to German penetration. There 
should be immediate steps in this important matter. 
Don't wake up after it is too late. Don't wait until 
the enemy has too much of a start. . . ." 

Japanese and British marines landed at Vladi- 
vostok early in April, and British troops on the 
Murman peninsula. Towards the end of May the 
Czechoslovak troops in Russia were in conflict with 
the Soviets. In July American troops were landed 
in Vladivostok; in August American troops were 
landed in Archangel. On August 4, 191 8, the 
State Department issued its famous and puzzling 
pronunciamento, saying: first that "military inter- 

i 4 THE NEW 

vention in Russia would be more likely to add to 
the present sad confusion there than to cure it. . . ." 
Second, that "military action is admissible in Rus- 
sia now only to render such protection and help as 
is possible to the Czechoslovaks against the armed 
Austrian and German prisoners who are attacking 
them. . . ." Third, "to steady any efforts at self- 
government or self-defense in which the Russians 
themselves may be willing to accept assistance. . . ." 
Fourth, "to guard military stores. . . ." Fifth, to 
safeguard "the country to the rear of the westward- 
moving Czechoslovaks . . . ." 

Five and a half months intervened between the 
withdrawal of Russia from the war and the formal 
acceptance of the policy of intervention by the 
American Government. As early as April there 
had been some intervention, but August 4 marks 
the public and official triumph of the idea. What 
was the character of the news in these months? 
Ignoring all editorials, magazine features, etc., of 
which the volume was very large, selecting only 
from the news, we have noted about 285 items 
bearing upon the problem of intervention. 

We have classified the 285 items according to 
the theme they illustrate. Thus : 

German Domination of Russia 49 

Russian Anti-Bolshevism 34 

Japanese Intervention 69 

Allied Intervention 48 

American Intervention 26 

The Czechoslovaks 31 

The Red Peril 5 

Prisoners in Siberia Peril 3 

Relief for Russia 3 

Japanese in Peril 2 

Guarding Stores 2 

Anti-Intervention . . . 13 

That the Red Peril should have played so in- 
significant a part in the news at a time when the 
debate about intervention in Russia's internal af- 
fairs was hottest is one of the curiosities of this 
history. It is also one of the most significant things 
about it. The notion of a fundamental antagonism 
between the Soviet government and the American 
is not insisted upon until after American troops 
are on Russian soil. (See Section V of this re- 

The great reason for military action displayed 
in the news is the German domination of Russia. 
It is Foch's reason in February; it is Senator King's 
reason in his Senate resolution of June 10th; it is 
Mr. Taft's reason the same day. (Times of June 
ii.) The argument was simple : the eastern 
front is gone. Germany has an unblocked path 
through Russia and Siberia to the Pacific, through 
Russia and the Caucasus to India. Germany will 
organize Russian resources and perhaps Russian 
man power; then she will win the war. Somewhere 
or other an eastern front must be reestablished. 


AugUSt 4, IQ20 

The Bolsheviks will not and cannot do this. The 
problem is therefore to be solved by Allied, Jap- 
anese, and American soldiers cooperating with Rus- 
sian anti-Bolsheviks. The providential rebellion of 
the Czechoslovaks in May, June and July provides 
the nucleus. 

This argument dominates the news in the Times 
up to August, and more or less until the armistice 
with Germany. The armistice, of course, destroy- 
ed the argument But the intervention continued. 
After the armistice intervention is justified by the 
Red Peril; before the armistice it is justified by the 
German Peril. Little fighting was done by Ameri- 
can troops in Russia before the armistice. These 
troops went to fight Germany and remained to fight 

The German Peril 

The news looking towards intervention is thick- 
est from just after Foch's interview to just before 
the great German offensive of March 21. It de- 
clines rather suddenly after the President had veto- 
ed the idea, and then begins again strongly in May 
with increasing intensity through June and July up 
to the time of the President's conversion. The first 
unsuccessful phase in early March, 19 18, is before 
the fright caused by the German success. The sec- 
ond successful phase coincides with the farthest ad- 
vance of the Germans towards Paris. President 
Wilson's final decision on August 4 is four days 
before the day which Ludendorff calls the turning 
point of the war. Thus intervention was launched 
as part of the grand strategy of the war against 
Germany. The news is all to that effect. "Sees 
Russia Now as Ally of Germany" — "Germans 
Overrun Siberia" — "Germany Boasts an Open 
Route to India" — "German Leads Bolshevist Ar- 
my" — "Bolsheviki Yield Russia's Riches to Ber- 
lin" — "Russians Sell Out to the Germans" — these 
are headlines typical of the items we have listed 
under "German Domination of Russia," in the 
months between Russia's withdrawal from the war 
and the formal acceptance of the policy of inter- 
vention by the American Government. Occasionally 
dispatches come through presenting another pic- 
ture. It is reported, for instance (as in the Times 
on June 17), that Germany is finding her Russian 
venture somewhat disappointing in its results. But 
these reports are not followed up, verified, 
or insisted upon. The accepted news is that Ger- 
many is dominating Russia. Assuming the sub- 
stance of this news to be true, there was still a 
practical question. Vladivostok was 5,000 miles 
from the old Russian front. The only other en- 
trance to Russia was on the Arctic Ocean. The 
Japanese alone had an army to use, if they were 
willing to use it, and they were over 5,000 miles 
from Germany. Archangel and Murmansk were 

AugUSt 4 f IQ20 



gates to Russia, though bad ones, but there was no 
army of any size that could be diverted to that 
front before the armistice. All the other gates to 
Russia were blocked. 

These elementary considerations do not figure 
very much in the news. The practical difficulty is 
met, when it is met at all, by news of anti-Bolshe- 
vists in Russia ready to roll up around and behind 
a small allied army. These anti-Bolshevists and 
their intentions were crucial, for unless they existed 
and wanted intervention and were ready to fight, 
the meager allied forces available would be lost in 
a wilderness. What does the news say about the 
prospects of Russian support for allied interven- 

The True Voice of Russia 

There were of course rebellions reported on the 
periphery of Central Russia. But the first serious 
news which had some stategic relation to the Jap- 
anese army appeared, we believe, April 21, 19 18, 
announcing from Washington the receipt of cables 
to the effect that the Provisional Duma of Au- 
tonomous Siberia requested Allied assistance in a 
program of self-government and resistance to Ger- 
man penetration. On May 5, Mr. A. J. Sack, 
Director of the Russian Information Bureau, issued 
an appeal to the American people for supplies and 

"In the first place," said Mr. Sack, "you must 
distinguish between the Bolsheviki and the Russian 
people. . . . An expedition advancing through Siberia, 
organizing the sound Russian elements into a great 
force .... could certainly count on the support of 
the Caucasian and Cossack peoples . . . ." Asked 
whether there would be armed opposition he replied: 
"There would undoubtedly be opposition at first, but 
it is highly improbable that Germany would be able 
to spare any large number of men. ... If Germany 
were in the allied place .... she would have 3,ooo,- 
000 Hussions fighting on the east hont within a 

This was the picture of Russia conveyed by the 
official press bureau of the so-called Russian Em- 
bassy in Washington. In the month of June the 
advocates of intervention were busy making the 
picture seem a true one. Lady Murial Paget, "a 
group of influential Russians," Mme. Botchkarova, 
M. Konovalov, other interventionists, all come to 
Washington "to tell about Russia." The distin- 
guished French philosopher, M. Henri Bergson, 
arrived on a mission to the White House about this 
time, unrecorded so far as the Times Index shows, 
or our own search of the files. There were appeals 
for intervention from the Far Eastern Russian 
Committee, from Russians in Harbin, from Ker- 
ensky and from Russians of the Murmansk coast. 
On June 17 the Times reported "Russian military 
men in this country" as eagerly awaiting action by 

On August 22, the Allied governments issued 
a statement at Archangel (Times, August 26) : 

"The Allies, then, were called to Russia by the 
only legitimate and representative authority, for the 
purpose of military action in common aiming at the 
expulsion of the Germans and the complete sup- 
pression by force of arms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, 
traitorously signed by the Bolsheviki." 

On September 6, intervention then being a fact, 
Mr. Arthur Copping says (Special to the Times, 
Archangel, August 16) : 

"The true voice of Russia, the voice of non-Bol- 
shevist Russia, besought the help of the Allies, and 
the Allies could not continue deaf to that insistent 
appeal. . . ." 

One of the difficulties is that the appeal from 
Russia did not begin until nearly two months after 
the appeal from Foch on February 26, 19 18. 
Moreover the idea of intervention had been bruited 
among the Allies as early as August, 19 17, and 
perhaps earlier. 

The Push for Intervention 

Intervention was, as we have seen, based on two 
themes: German domination of Russia, and the 
readiness of anti-Bolshevik Russia to fight. Both 
themes were an appeal to reason, if the information 
they embodied was correct, correct, mind you, not 
incidentally, but in the true perspective of events. 
The German theme disappeared almost instanta- 
neously with the armistice. The reality of the anti- 
Bolshevik uprising was tested by military campaigns 
under Kolchak, Denikin, and Yudenitch. The news 
of these campaigns is discussed in sections VI to 

Beside the appeal to reason there was a vast 
amount of news directly advocating or directly fore- 
casting the much desired intervention. The inter- 
ested reader will find more than one hundred and 
forty news items bearing directly upon intervention 
in the months between February and July. 

All this leaves out of account the vast amount of 
opinion and feature material frankly aimed to per- 
suade the reader. It was even reported, in the guise 
of news, that intervention would have a quieting 
effect on Russian politics. Thus a dispatch from 
Tokio, dated August 3 : 

"It is predicted in well-informed circles here that 
the present concerted action by the Allies in Siberia 
will act as a sedative on the situation. . . ." 

That the news columns in this period were used 
to persuade the readers of the wisdom of a certain 
policy, held by the Times itself, will hardly be dis- 
puted. Take a front page dispatch like the follow- 



August 4, IQ20 

ing on May 20. (Special from Washington, May 
19.) The captions read as follows: 













This in our judgment is a clear and flagrant ex- 

ample of the invasion of the news by editorial opi- 
nion. We are not overstating the matter when we 
say that a great deal of the news about Russia in 
the period under consideration was marked by such 
propagandist methods. We grant the patriotism 
of the motives; we simply point out the fact, 
and question the conception of journalism which 
it illustrates. 

The tendency noted in the earlier sections, the 
tendency to evaluate the news on the basis of hope, 
degenerates after the shock of Russia's withdrawal 
and the increasing impetus of war psychology into 
passionate argument masquerading as news. This 
degeneration is noticeable from February, 19 18, 
right up to the final collapse of the White Generals, 
and beyond. 

v. The Front Changes 

Why had Allied troops been sent into Russia? 
In the months preceding intervention the dominant 
reason defined by statesmen, press associations and 
special correspondents was the necessity of recon- 
stituting some sort of an eastern front to face the 
Germans. As the foregoing section disclosed, in 
the five and a half months that elapsed between the 
withdrawal of Russia from the war and the formal 
acceptance of the policy of intervention by the 
American government, the Red Peril played an in- 
significant part in the hot discussion over interven- 
tion in Russia's internal affairs. Germany had the 
front of the stage. Upon the notion of a Peril that 
would sweep out of Russia and attack western 
civilization there was practically no emphasis. 

This continued to be the situation in the first days 
following the landing of Allied and American 
troops on Russian soil. There were, to be sure, a 
few warnings that Lenin either had declar- 
ed war* upon one or more members of the En- 
tente, or soon intended making such a declara- 
tion.* But in August, September and October — 
in the days immediately preceding the end of the 
war — it was still the anti-German note that pre- 
dominated. On September 4, for instance, when 
Allied intervention had become an accomplished 
fact, the Times published an unidentified dispatch 
from London, declaring 

"It is reported here on what seems to be good 
authority that the Germans have decided to take 
military action in Russia against the Allies and have 
delivered an ultimatum to the Bolshevist government 
demanding free passage for their troops. Official 
confirmation of this is awaited." 

* See, for example, the Times of August 7, 8, 9, 10 and 
23, 1918. 

Again, a week later, a special to the Times from 
Washington asserted 

"What is regarded as closely approximating an 
offensive and defensive alliance between Germany and 
the Bolshevist Government in Russia is involved in 
the treaty just negotiated between them, the first 
official information concerning which reached the 
State Department today in a dispatch from American 
Ambassador Francis at Archangel." 

It was about this time (September 15 to 21, in- 
clusive) that the Sisson documents were published 
— proving, in the eyes of the Times, that the Bol- 
shevists had ruled Russia "as German valets. M That 
was still the loud note in the news from Russia 
during these days when the war in Europe was 
drawing near its close. On October 20 — twenty- 
two days before the armistice — the Times published 
this news in a special dispatch from Carl Acker- 
man, then at American Field Headquarters in Si- 

"In Khabarovsk the Russians believe that the Bol- 
shevist life is measured by the ability of Germany's 
military to hold out. With the splendid advance in 
the west, every foot gained is also a gain in Russia, 
because Germany is being weakened here, too. Once 
her prestige is destroyed, the power of the Bolshevxki 
will crumble." 

That was a bad guess. But it was reinforced by 
propaganda coming from the ever-ready "Russian 
Information Bureau. M On the very eve of the ar- 
mistice this Bureau issued a statement (published in 
the Times on November 5 ) misinforming the 
American public that 

"The Bolsheviki, who rule in part of Central 
Russia by means of mass terror, are able to stay in 
power only through German support. As soon as 

/lugUSt 4, IQ20 



this support is withdrawn the population will over- 
throw them." 

Six days later the armistice was signed. German 
support ivas withdrawn. The Soviets stayed where 
they were. . . . But for nearly two years the "Rus- 
sian Information Bureau 11 has gone on making 

Something to Fight For 

It seems to us important, at this point, once more 
to take stock of the situation that existed on the 
day of the armistice. Interventionist statesmen 
and correspondents had prepared the way for in- 
tervention on the ground that war with Germany 
demanded it On the day of the armistice the war 
with Germany was ended. Not another German 
soldier would march into Russian territory; Foch 
had his complete surrender. There were, to be 
sure, still Czechoslovak troops in Siberia. And to 
those troops the State Department note of August 
4 had promised "such protection and help as is 
possible . . . against the armed Austrian and Ger- 
man prisoners who are attacking them," But re- 
gardless of the numbers of those prisoners — now, 
with Austria and Germany defeated, the Allies 
could have shut down upon communication between 
any such armed bands and their home govern- 
ments. And there were, moreover, Allied and 
American troops in Russia — at Archangel, for in- 
stance, and at different points in Siberia — who were 
not associated with the withdrawal of the Czechs, 
but rather dispatched to Russia in accord with the 
plan of reconstituting a new front againstGermany. 
There was, in addition, the question whether fur- 
ther munitions and supplies should be shipped to 
certain Russian factions to be used against certain 
other Russian factions. Did the interventionists 
at once point out that with the armistice there re- 
mained no possible reason for reconstructing an 
eastern front against Germany? Or did there sud- 
denly appear in the post-armistice news a new em- 
phasis — an emphasis no longer upon Germany — 
and yet one serving equally well to justify the re- 
tention of Allied troops on Russian soil and the 
furnishing of aid to one Russian faction as against 

Three days after the armistice (November 14) 
there appeared in the Times these headlines: 




Under these headlines there appeared a dis- 
patch from London (unidentified) declaring "The 
most serious question of the hour, in the opinion 
of some newspapers here, is how far Europe is in- 
fected with Bolshevism.'* Sweden was alarmed. 
"Newspapers in Spain, Holland, and even Norway 
also express apprehension over the spread of the 

Red Flag movement. The troubles in Switzerland 
also cause uneasiness. A general strike began there 

One war was done. A new one was beginning to 
take its place. The Red Peril, hitherto an insig- 
nificant item in the news as compared with the peril 
of a Russia dominated by Germany, now took pre- 
cedence in the dispatches. Reports descriptive of 
Russia's aggressive intentions upon the rest of the 
world came more frequently over the wires, A 
week after this first dispatch, on November 21, the 
Times published a special cable from Mr. Julian 
Grande, in Berne; 

"The general strike here, which lasted three days, 
must not be considered as a mere local disturbance, 
but as of international interest, because it shows the 
extent of the mischief which the Russian Bolsheviki 
have already succeeded in doing. It is now known 
that the Bolshevist agents in Switzerland intended to 
organize a sanguinary revolution, hoping to extend it 
to the neighboring countries, Italy and France." Etc. 

That same day the Times published a dispatch 
from Washington, stating that while "no definite 
word" had been received, "recent reports from 
London have been taken by some observers to in- 
dicate that Great Britain may propose the sending 
of additional troops into Russia to place the country 
on a stable footing and eliminate the Bolsheviki." 

A new note, you observe, was appearing. It was 
not "to establish an eastern front" that this dis- 
patch suggested Great Britain might send troops 
into Russia: it was "to place the country on a 
stable footing and eliminate the Bolsheviki." The 
note was a popular one. Three days later (No- 
vember 24) another Washington dispatch was 
published in the Times, reporting that in the 
opinion of Prince Lvov, Premier of the first Pro- 
visional Government, military and economic inter- 
vention was "imperative to save Russia against the 
revolutionary element now in control of its affairs. " 
On December 13 the Times reported that "Corne- 
lius J. Callahan, manager of the Russian-American 
Company for International Trade, a subsidiary of 
Gaston, William and Wigmore, who left Moscow 
six weeks ago, said yesterday at the company's 
offices, 39 Broadway, that, in his opinion, it would 
be necessary for the United States to send a for- 
midable' army into Russia to restore order." And 
three days later there appeared an Associated Press 
dispatch from Constantinople, giving the opinion 
of Paul Milukov that "the only possible cure for 
the present trouble in Russia is that an Allied force 
be landed immediately in the south." The follow- 
ing day the Times asked editorially: "Having 
entered Russia for a purpose, why not carry out 
that purpose?" Reconstitute an eastern front? 
No. "Start a real movement to drive the Bolsheviki 
out." "The presence of a foreign army is usually 
an irritation; the irritation is there now; we can 



August 4, IQ20 

remove it if we reinforce our armies and do some- 
thing that will make it safe to withdraw them 
later . . , Unless we drive the Bolsheviki out of 
Petrograd and Moscow the population of the bulk 
of Great Russia will have a winter of starvation." 

Red Peril 

A month after the armistice thus found editorial 
writer, correspondent and statesman all well on 
the way toward supplying for intervention a reason 
as compelling as that motive which the armistice 
had done away with. "Red Peril Pictured 
As Alarming" said a headline in the Times 
on December 18 ; and four days later an Associated 
Press dispatch from Berlin brought a report that 
Radek, on the occasion of his recent visit to that 
city, had "boasted that 'the money sent to Berlin 
to finance the revolution was as nothing compared 
to the funds transmitted to New York for the pur- 
pose of spreading Bolshevism in the United 
States.' " U A military expedition starting at 
Odessa," said the Times, that same day, u couId 
even now overthrow our armed enemies at Moscow 
and save famine-stricken Petrograd, and then meet 
the little force we have put in Murmansk." 

Such passages as these, from the pens of editorial 
writers, correspondents and Authorities on Russia, 
show how facile was the transition following the 
armistice. A few days more, and it may fairly be 
said that the new motive was dominant. Thus, on 
December 24, the Times published a special dis- 
patch reporting that "Rumors have been current 
in Washington that General Pershing, acting under 
an understanding with President Wilson, has been 
preparing to send forces from France to Russia." 
On the same day Mr. Charles Selden cabled from 
Paris that to deal with u the Bolshevism that men- 
aces the world" Prince Lvov and his colleagues 
had asked for 150,000 Allied troops. (Times, 
December 26, 1918.) Two days later came a 
second cable from Mr. Selden, reporting that while 
there would be no Allied intervention in Russia on 
a large scale — because "no European Government 
at the present moment cares to risk arousing the 
opposition of its people to sending large bodies of 
troops to Russia for a Winter campaign" — never- 
theless "a strong allied expedition is about -to re- 
inforce the expedition already in Southern Russia, 
and they will take the place of the German troops 
evacuating the Ukraine." Another two days, and 
headlines on the first page of the Times an- 
nounced — 



The dispatch which these headlines introduced 
was one from Mr. Walter Duranty in Paris, dated 

December 28. U A French business man, just re- 
turned from Moscow after three months' imprison- 
ment by the Bolsheviki" had told Mr. Duranty 
"You people are living in a Fool's Paradise." A 
Danish diplomat, also unnamed, had reported 
that "to believe that Bolshevism meant nothing 
but disorganization . . . was to make a mistake for 
which the world might pay dearly in the near fu- 
ture." Moreover — 

A high official at the Russian Embassy, whom I 
saw this morning, confirmed the main points of the 
ominous condition of affairs in Russia. 

"It is certainly true," he said, "that the Bolsheviki 
are better organized than most persons here imagine. 
They have forced officers and officials of the former 
regime to work for them under pain of death. Ac- 
cording to the latest information we have received, they 
do appear to be spreading westward, and may create a 
grave state of affairs for Western Europe by joining 
hands with the extremist party in Germany, which 
seems to be getting control, at least, for a time. 

That day, editorially, the Times cast its 
die. "The fault which the Allies are committing 
in the front of their new enemy, the Bolsheviki," 
it said, "is the same they have so long committed 
in front of their old enemy, the German autocracy. 
They allowed the enemy all the advantages of the 
offensive, and merely resisted at whatever point 
the enemy chose in turn to attack .... 
Similarly the Bolshevist assault on civiliza- 
tion has all the advantages of the offensive .... 
As for the fear that advance into Russia would 
or might contaminate the soldiers of the advancing 
force by bringing them into contact with Bolshevist 
argument, that merely means only a postponement 
of the evil day, for the Bolsheviki are on the offen- 
sive and will bring that argument home to the 
West without delay. When they do they will 
be stronger and more powerful than they are now. 
The Allies can fight Bolshevism now, before its 
teeth have grown, and run the risk of having the 
cruder minds among their soldiers debauched by 
the argument that ignorance should rule knowledge; 
or they can wait until Bolshevism has spread that 
argument through the cruder minds not only of 
their armies but of their whole populations, and 
then fight it with their morale thus impaired. It 
ought to be a choice easy to make." 

The front had changed. "Their new enemy, the 
Bolsheviki" — "the Bolsheviki are on the offensive" 
— "Allies can fight Bolshevism now," or "they can 
wait" — "it ought to be a choice easy to make." 
Thus by the end of 19 18, seven weeks after the 
armistice, was the transition effected. Gone was 
the old enemy — Germany. In Germany's place, 
demanding more cannon and platoons, stood the 
"new enemy" — Soviet Russia. 

August 4, IQ20 



VI. Kolchak 

Kolchak was the spearhead of Russian inter- 
vention. He was not yet in power when the Allied 
councils determined to reconstitute the eastern 
front. But when the emphasis shifted, with the 
end of the war against Germany, he came in time 
to play protagonist in the new drama. Within a 
few weeks after the signing of the armistice, he 
stood at the head of the U A11-Russian Government 
of Omsk." 

There had preceded Kolchak, in Siberia-, a gov- 
ernment headed by Peter Vologodsky. It was a 
government (more than one correspondent in 
Siberia reported) which commanded some measure 
of popular support. An Associated Press dispatch 
from Vladivostok (September 22, 1918) asserted 
that "democratic organizations in Omsk and Tomsk 
are supporting the cabinet"; Mr. Carl W. Acker- 
man cabled to the Times on November 14, "It is 
a good beginning, with popular support and good 
intentions and principles"; and the Times itself 
said editorially (November 24), "The Omsk gov- 
ernment was the nearest approach to a democratic 
government representing Russia which has been 
created since the Bolshevist revolution a year ago; 
it was the one which the Allies could most easily 

It was this government which a coup d'etat 
turned out of power on the 18th of November. 
An Associated Press dispatch from Vladivostok 
tells the story: 

"Through a coup on the part of the council of 
Ministers of the new All-Russian government at 
Omsk, Admiral Alexander Kolchak has become vir- 
tual dictator and commander of the All-Russian army 
and fleet. Two ministers, M. Avksentieff and M. 
Zenzenoff who opposed Admiral Kolchak 's dictator- 
ship, have been arrested. A portion of the directorate 
of the erstwhile Ufa government, which formed the 
administrative body oi the new government, and to 
which the Ministry was responsible, supports Ad- 
miral Kolchak. Telegrams received here from Omsk 
state that the move was 'due to extraordinary circum- 
stances and danger menacing the state.' . . . ." 

Was there an implication here that Kolchak him- 
self had been a conspirator in the coup d'etat which 
had arrested Ministers who "opposed" his rise to 
the dictatorship? If so, the public was speedily in- 
formed that no such implication was intended. 
From Washington (November 22) came the fol- 
lowing dispatch — based on information supplied by 
the "Russian Embassy" (the italics are ours) : 
"Cable dispatches received at the Russian Embassy, 
today, from Siberia, throw a new light on the 
changes that took place recently in the All-Russian 

government of Omsk, and brought to the front, 
Admiral Kolchak as dictator with the approval of 
the government, A group of three military officers, 
on the night of November 18, according to these 
dispatches, arrested without authority two members 
of the directory, Avksentieff and Zenzenoff, and 
two prominent citizens of Omsk, Argunoff and 
Rogovsky. The coup, the object of which is not 
entirely clear, was attempted without any knowl- 
edge or participation of the government. It was 
promptly and emphatically disapproved by the 
government. In order to prevent further irrespon- 
sible activities and to maintain the principle of firm 
governmental power, the Council of Ministers 
urged energetic measures and issued a decree 
authorizing Admiral Kolchak to take over the 
power of the State. By his order, the offenders 
were turned over at once for trial! } 

This paragraph presents the case of Kolchak's 
apologists: that Kolchak was no party to the 
coup d'etat. That he was its innocent beneficiary. 
That he was, in fact, brought into power for the 
express purpose of preventing just such coups in 
future, and for punishing those who had carried off 
the present one. Did Kolchak, the innocent bene- 
ficiary of a coup d'etat, bring to punishment the 
officers arrested for overturning the Vologodsky 
cabinet? We have been unable to find in the Times 
this final chapter of the story:. 

"Omsk. An order was issued to declare to all parts 
of the army that Col. Volkoff, Ataman Krasilnikoff 
and Army Chief Kitanayeff, who had been tried by 
the Field Court Martial, were found— not guilty." 

Thus runs a report in the monarchist People's 
Gazette of November 27.* 

The Man on Horseback 

A few frank reports of the effect of the Kolchak 
coup d'etat came to the Times from Mr. Acker- 
man. He cabled (November 26) that "the situa- 
tion is daily growing increasingly serious as a re- 
sult of the Omsk coup d'etat." And again, (No- 
vember 25) that "the Omsk coup d'etat has had 
a bad effect upon the Czech troops, according to 
General Syrovy. 'The change of government,' he 
said, 'has killed our soldiers. They say that for 
four years they have been fighting for democracy, 
and that now that a dictatorship ruled in Omsk, 
they are no longer fighting for democracy.' " 

But despite such reports, the coup d'etat found 

* See The New Republic of July 9, 1919. 




August 4, IQ20 

an early welcome in other quarters. The same 
issue of the Times which published first news 
of the coup carried also the dispatch which fol- 



"Washington, Nov. 21. — News of the coup at 
Omsk by which Admiral Kolchak virtually became 
dictator of the All-Russian forces, is regarded at the 
State Department as another sign pointing to stabi- 
lization of the movement relied upon to regenerate 
Russia. The great weakness of the situation in Si- 
beria, it has been believed for some time, is the lack 
of a powerful head of the government who cannot 
be swayed by popular demonstration and who will 
work toward the reconstruction of the government 
with a firm hand. . . ." 

A firm hand and an ability to resist "popular 
demonstration" had their charm. The same Times 
editorial (November 24) which had paid tribute 
to the old government admitted this much about 
the new: "Kolchak's stroke changes its outward 
appearance, but may not have changed the es- 
sence .... Personally, Kolchak seems to be a 
strong man, and an honest man. In the group 
around him, is certainly to be found the nearest 
approach to 'Russia' at the present moment .... 
We should give all possible support to any stable 
and approximately representative government that 
can be found . . ." 

That government, it became more and more 
clear, was Kolchak's. By January 17, the Times 
was ready to say: u From this distance it appears 
that his [Kolchak's] appointment to a sort of con- 
stitutional dictatorship was the best thing that could 
have been done under the circumstances"; and by 
the time Kolchak's armies were ready to move, he 
might — so far as emphasis on the coup d'etat was 
concerned — have been elected to the post of dic- 
tator by a popular ballot. "It was a democratic 
change," said the Times on April 21, "there was 
no arbitrary coup d'etat." 


Kolchak had not been in power more than a 
few months before the question of diplomatic 
recognition for his government made the first of 
its many appearances in the news. On April 18, 
an unidentified dispatch from Washington asserted: 
"Unofficial advices from London have reached 
Washington today, that the leading Entente powers, 
as well as the United States government, would 
simultaneously recognize the Kolchak government 
at Omsk, in Siberia, immediately after the Ger- 
mans have signed the peace treaty . . . ." 

It is important to note the stream of similar dis- 

patches that followed. These rumors were the re- 
verse side of that other picture drawn so often: 
the picture of impending collapse in Petrograd and 
Moscow. Foreign correspondent and Washington 
bureau kept repeating that Kolchak would "soon 
be recognized"; foreign correspondent and Wash- 
ington bureau kept repeating that Soviet Russia 
would "soon collapse." Prophecy was intertwined 
with news — and was utterly false in both cases. 
Kolchak was never recognized; the Soviet govern- 
ment, a full year later, had not fallen, But con- 
stant repetition had its effect on public opinion. 

So important is the subjective effect upon the 
reader of this sort of iteration that it is worth 
while following this story of Kolchak recognition. 
It began, as we have said, in the Spring of 19 19. 
We have in the following paragraphs listed a few 
of its varied reappearances. The instances seem 
to us fairly chosen. In none of them does the cor- 
respondent say that Kolchak should be recognized, 
or that he might be; he reports that there is 
evidence Kolchak will be recognized; and in 
some cases, (as items in the list show) he asserts 
that recognition is nothing less than an accomplish- 
ed fact. 

April 22* (Special dispatch, Washington) — "The deci- 
sion of the United States, Great Britain, France, and 
Italy .... to accord recognition to the Omsk cabinet as the 
de facto government of the country was reached, it is 
learned today, under the leadership of the United States," 

May 26, (Special cable, London) — "A well authorized 
report reaches the New York Times correspondent that 
recognition of the Kolchak government by Great Britain is 
imminent. . . ." 

(The headline read: "Britain to Recognize Kolchak 

May 2J. (Special cable, London) — -"The Council of 
Four has unanimously decided in favor of the recognition 
in principle of the Kolchak government, advices from Paris 
say. This disposes of rumors current here relative to Presi- 
dent Wilson's opposition. . . ." 

(The headline read: "Allies Recognize Kolchak Cab- 

June 12. (Havas, Paris) — "The Council of Four has 
the complete text of the reply of Admiral Kolchak. . . . 
Recognition of the Omsk government, it is believed, will 
not be much longer delayed." 

(Headline: "Recognize Kolchak Soon.") 

August 26. (Special dispatch, Washington) — "Roland 
S. Morris, the American Ambassador to Japan, who was 
sent to Omsk to confer with officials of the Kolchak gov- 
ernment and make report on the situation in Siberia, has 
recommended that the American government grant imme- 
diate recognition to the Kolchak government .... recog- 
nition is expected to be granted inside of a month. . . ." 

* The date, in each instance, is the date of publication in 
the Times. 

AugtlSt 4, IQ20 



Kolchak in Power 

Recognition is ordinarily granted a de facto 
government only when it seems to have secured 
a firm hold over the people which it governs. Dur- 
ing the months Kolchak was in power there ap- 
peared in the Times evidence to show that despite 
the coup d'etat which had upset a democratic gov- 
ernment, Kolchak was winning the loyalty of the 
Siberian people. Some of these reports had their 
origin in u the Russian Committee in Paris" (over 
which an ex-Minister of the Tsar presided) ; others, 
in "the Russian Embassy" in Washington. Many 
such reports, however, were based upon events of 
some significance and merited transmission as news. 

No doubt there were Zemstvos and trade unions 
and other democratic bodies that gave their support 
to Kolchak; we know (by this time) that there 
were also certain others, both in Siberia and in 
European Russia, that gave equal loyalty to the 
Soviets. A declaration of support by a democratic 
assembly, either in favor of Kolchak or in favor 
of Lenin, is a news event of somewhat similar im- 
portance. Is it the true function of a newspaper 
and a press association to report or to ignore such 
events without discrimination? In the Times you 
will find sixteen reports* of declarations by 
Zemstvos, trade unions and other bodies, in favor 
of the Kolchak government. There is no similarly 
complete record of that gradual accretion of power 
which the Soviets must have had, to stay on top 
in Moscow. 

Emphasis is an important factor in journalism. 
It is sometimes achieved simply by silence. Section 
III of this review gives a resume of the various 
reports of revolt in Soviet Russia, of strikes and 
of revolutions. It is fair to say that whenever the 
Soviets were suspected of being in trouble, and of 
course they were in trouble, the entire civilized 
world knew of it the following morning. 

"Was Kolchak never in trouble? He was, to be 
sure, harrassed by bandit leaders like Semenoff, 
and Kalmykoff.t But the Times had an explana- 
tion^ for his failure to rid himself of such gentry: 
"In spite of the demands of his war with the Bol- 
sheviki, he [Kolchak] made preparations once, if 
not twice, to send a military expedition against these 
two Cossack adventurers, with the object of restor- 
ing all Siberia to allegiance to the Omsk govern- 
ment. Americans returned from Siberia say that 
this vindication of authority was halted by the mili- 
tary representatives of a foreign government, who 
find the Cossack leaders useful for their own pur- 

* >n. 9, 1919; Jan. 18; Jan. 27; April 6; May 21; 
May 22; June 1; June 7; June 11; June 13; July 22; 
July 25 ; July 31 ; Aug. 3 ; Sept. 27 ; Nov. 23. 

t See Times of May 31, 1919; August 1; August 

7 ; e tc. 

I Editorial, October 4, 1919. 

poses, and who threatened to use force against 
Kolchak if he persisted.' 1 

Kolchak, in other words, could not be expected 
to take on Japan when he went gunning for two 
modest bandits. And with the reasonableness of 
this logic we agree — though it might be pointed 
out that the constant open rebellion of Semenoff 
and Kalmykoff made a little absurd the designations 
"All-Russian Government" and "Supreme Ruler." 

But aside from the bandit chieftains, what of 
Kolchak's control over his own section of Siberia? 
What preparation had a reader of the Times for 
the revolutionary explosion that was coming? Had 
he been warned that it was from Vesuvius that 
Kolchak ruled? 

It is remarkable how little can be found in the 
columns of the Times to suggest the revolution that 
was to sweep Kolchak out of power — until the re- 
volution itself had broken. Reports received in 
August, that Ambassador Morris had found 
Kolchak's position critical, were followed by reports, 
of a more favorable turn. Even as late as December 
2, the conclusion of a Times editorial was not 
one that foreshadowed collapse. Kolchak was seek- 
ing to remedy mistakes ; "his government should be 
much more solidly established hereafter." 

Twenty-two days later, there was no government 
left to establish. On December 23, a revolutionary 
government was proclaimed in Kolchak's second 
capital (Irkutsk). The following day, came 
Kolchak' s abdication : 

"In order to unite all armed forces fighting to 
make secure our political organization, I name Gen- 
eral Semenoff, Commander in Chief, with head- 
quarters in the Irkutsk and trans-Baikal Russian 
military districts. All military commanders will be 
subordinate to him." 

The Supreme Ruler had resigned in favor of the 
Cossack Adventurer himself. Ironically, from 
Washington, on December 31, came a special dis- 
patch to the Times (italics ours) : 

". . . . Information now received indicates that 
the appointment of Semenoff was in reality very little 
more than a recognition by Admiral Kolchak of an 
already established fact . . . ." 

To the reporting of Admiral Kolchak's activities 
in the field it has seemed worth while to devote a 
separate section of this study. That section fol- 
lows. For Kolchak's activities as a statesman, the 
Czechs may speak. They knew and served him 

"By guarding and maintaining order, our army has 
been forced against its convictions to support a state 
of absolute despotism and unlawfulness which has had 
its beginnings here under defense of the Czech arms. 

"The military authorities of the Government of 
Omsk are permitting criminal actions that will stag- 



AugUSt 4, IQ20 

ger the entire world. The burning of villages, the 
murder of masses of peaceful inhabitants and the 
shooting of hundreds of persons of democratic con- 
victions and also those only suspected of political dis- 
loyalty occurs daily. The responsibility for this be- 
fore the peoples of the world will fall on us, inas- 
much as we, possessing sufficient strength, do not pre- 

vent this lawlessness. 

"Thus our passiveness appears as a direct conse- 
quence of the principles of neutrality and non-inter- 
ference in Russian internal affairs, and we are 
becoming apparent participants in these crimes as a 
result of our observing absolute neutrality." (Times, 
November 18, 1919.) 

vii. The Kolchak Offensive 

An American can picture the position of Kol- 
chak's armies, before the start of the 1919 offen- 
sive, if he imagines that Moscow is Des Moines, 
ai^d that the Kolchak forces are drawn up on a 
line reaching roughly from Lake Ontario, on 
the north, to Roanoke, Va., on the south. It must 
further be imagined, of course, that the railway 
lines reaching westward from the Appalachians are 
greatly inferior in trackage and rolling stock to 
anything that might be called a trunk line in this 
country. Moreover, while the Appalachian Moun- 
tains may be considered as non-existent, for Kol- 
chak, it is necessary to add a number of new and 
important rivers to our map — rivers flowing north 
and south, and thereby forming bunkers in the way 
of an advance upon Des Moines, should hostile 
forces dynamite the bridges. Finally, the important 
industrial cities between Des Moines and the Ap- 
palachians have no equivalent in Russia between 
Perm and Moscow. There are, for our calcula- 
tions, no Pittsburgh^, Buffalos, Clevelands and 
Detroits — along the line of advance — in which old 
equipment might be repaired and new material se- 

What resources had Kolchak, for an advance 
upon Moscow, in the face of difficulties so sub- 

Three months before the start of his of- 
fensive, he was credited with an army numbering 
"100,000 men, 200,000 more recruited, and await- 
ing equipment." (Statement by Boris Bakhmeteff, 
published in the Times December 31, 1918.) How 
many of the second 200,000 had been equipped 
when Kolchak gave the word to start, it is impos- 
sible to say. It is also impossible to find in the 
Times a confident estimate of the number of Soviet 
troops opposing him. Some advantage Kolchak 
had, however, in the fact that the tide was running 
in his direction when he started. Late in December, 
Siberian and Czechoslovakian troops had captured 
the city of Perm, (which corresponds to a point 
near Hamilton, Ont., on our transposed map) with 
reported captures of 31,000 prisoners, 120 field 
guns, 1,000 machine guns, and the annihilation of 
ten Bolshevist regiments. (Associated Press dis- 
patch from Vladivostok, published in the Times 
January 3, 1919O 

The Offensive Starts 

Now the extraordinary thing about the news 
of Kolchak's westward push is the extravagance 
of the claims that were made for him, on the basis 
of what can fairly be called indefinite information. 
First news of what might be called the opening 
of the Spring offensive, was published in the Times 
on March 25. (Unidentified dispatch, Paris.) 
Kolchak was then advancing on a line some 250 
miles in length. "At certain points" he had driven 
the Bolsheviki back "more than thirty miles"; a 
small city (Okransk) had been captured. 

Two days later, the Times published a second 
dispatch. (London via Montreal.) The definite 
information it contained was meagre. "A large 
number" of prisoners had been captured; three 
Bolshevist, regiments had been "annihilated"; the 
city of Osa had been taken. Probably few Amer- 
icans, however, realized that the capture of Osa 
had about the same significance and represented 
about the same progress as the advance of our imag- 
inary army from Hamilton, Ont., to a point on the 
north shore of Lake Erie; and accordingly few may 
have thought the headline of the Times and the first 
sentence of the dispatch unduly optimistic: 


"London, March 26 (via Montreal) — The troops 
of the Kolchak government who pierced the Bol- 
shevist front on a thirty-mile sector on March 11, 
continue their progress and the position of the Bol- 
sheviki is precarious " 

Their position, apparently, was equally precari- 
ous in Moscow and Petrograd. On April 3, a 
special cable to the Times from London (quoting 
the Morning Post's correspondent in Warsaw) , 
announced that "Lenin and Trotzky have come 
to a definite break." "The situation in Moscow 
and Petrograd has become so serious that there is 
promise of a popular uprising against the entire 
Bolshevist regime . . . ." 

Meantime, during the first three weeks of April, 
the news of Kolchak's campaign was not substantial. 
Soviet troops were "retiring rapidly" on the ex- 
treme southern end of the line; a regiment had 
deserted in the north; nine hundred Bolsheviki 

AtlgliSt 4, IQ20 



European Russia, superimposed upon a map of the United States to show relative distances. 

Moscow coincides with Des Moines, Iowa. 

2 4 


August 4, IQ20 

had been slain in Sarapul (a city which would cor- 
respond, on our transposed map, to Lorain, Ohio) ; 
and the city of Sterlitamak (about as far west, com- 
paratively, as Grafton, W. Va.) had been taken. 
On the basis of such achievement, however, the 
Times published (April 20) — under the headline: 
"Reds Collapsing in the East" — the opinion vol- 
unteered by the "Russian Embassy" in Washington, 
that "a collapse of the Bolshevist forces in Eastern 
Russia was imminent." The Soviet army, declared 
the "Embassy," , was becoming "more and more 

Kolchak Triumphant 

Two days later, on the first page of the Times 
there appeared the headlines: 


Now Kolchak, though readers of the Times 
might not have realized it, was still some five 
hundred and ninety miles away from Moscow when 
the Soviets thus tottered. At Chateau-Thierry the 
Germans were fifty miles from Paris. What was 
the basis of such cheer? "Heavy losses" had been 
inflicted on the enemy; demoralization of the Bol- 
shevist troops was "reported to be growing"; three 
divisions had refused to fight; there were more 
rumors of revolts by the peasants. 

We are, at this point, hastening along toward 
the very zenith of Kolchak's success. Note what 
happens in the meantime: an Associated Press 
dispatch from Paris (dated April 28) reports him 
in a village forty miles east of Samara (which, on 
an Americanized version of the map, might put him 
somewhere near Covington, Ky.) ; another dispatch 
from Paris (dated eleven days later) reported the 
evacuation of Samara itself; another six days, and 
Kolchak was in the city. This, in a few words, 
is the story of the drive on Moscow. Practically 
no definite claims had been made of prisoners 
taken, losses inflicted, or war material captured. 
Kolchak's troops had simply followed an army 
(size unknown) apparently retreating at least in 
good enough order to save the bulk of its supplies. 
So far as the occupation of Des Moines was con- 
cerned, Kolchak still had Indiana, Illinois, and half 
of Iowa to fight across. Yet on May 15, the French 
Wireless Service, plus the headline-writer of the 
Times, informed the public : 



"Paris, May 13 (French Wireless Service) — Plans 
are being made by the All-Russian government at 
Omsk to begin an advance on Moscow, Admiral 
Kolchak, the head of the government, declared in an 
interview with the correspondent of the Petit Pa- 
risien. . . ." 

From the hills of Kentucky Kolchak saw, but 
only with his mind's eye, the steeples of Des Moines 
— saw them, now no more than four hundred and 
ninety miles before him. 


Samara was the apex. Three weeks later 
(June 6), the Times reported Kolchak's capture 
of Uralsk. But Uralsk was behind the line of ad- 
vance, farther to the south. And the following 
day, there appeared this cryptic sentence in a Lon- 
don report of Winston Churchill's address to the 
House of Commons: 

"Mr. Churchill said that the check to Admiral 
Kolchak's advance was now T more pronounced, and 
that no attempt should be made to encourage extra- 
vagant hopes in that quarter." 

What did Mr. Churchill mean? He may have 
puzzled readers of the Times. But in this instance 
he proved himself a prophet. Five days later, the 
Times published a report that Soviet troops were 
in Ufa; July 3, they had recaptured Perm. Kol- 
chak was back where he had started. An unidenti- 
fied dispatch (Paris, July 5) brought a ray of hope: 
"Reports from Omsk" told of "an improvement in 
the situation." Soviet troops were "showing fat- 
igue"; Kolchak was "receiving reinforcements." 
But it was of little use. On July 17, the Times re- 
ported the capture by the Soviet army of the city of 
Ekaterinburg. Kolchak in that defeat lost one of 
his most important bases. Ekaterinburg was the 
center of the Ural mining district, and the site of 
important factories. Was it the end of the offen- 

No. Not, at least, for the "Russian Embassy." 
A special to the Times from Washington, dated 
July 31, brought the reassuring opinion of Boris 
Bakhmeteff, now returned from Paris. One should 
go slowly in evaluating a "temporary reverse." 
"Ups and downs, fluctuations of military chance are 
but natural." "For a healthy cause, a setback is 
but a step toward improvement." 

And then, the following morning, came a bolt 
from the blue: 

"Paris, Aug. 1 (Associated Press) — The All- 
Russian government is preparing to move from Omsk 
to Irkutsk, Siberia, and the morale of the Kolchak 
army is becoming so bad that there is little hope of it 
regaining the territory lost to the Bolsheviki, accord- 
ing to dispatches received in Paris. . . •" 

Cheliabinsk was lost. Another important base. 
There was no base left for Kolchak, now, in 
European Russia. Brusquely, on August 12, the 
Times told its readers what they might expect: 

"Special to The New York Times. Washington, 
Aug. II — The position of the anti-Bolshevist army 

; 1/ v . 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 



European and Asiatic Russia, superimposed upon an outline of the United States. Moscow comes where San 
Francisco would be. Kolchak's retreat from Perm to Irkutsk was accordingly a retreat corresponding to one 

from Santa Fe, N. A/., to a point off the Bahama Islands. 

commanded by Admiral Kolchak is so critical that 
official Washington is now openly apprehensive of the 
collapse of the entire movement headed by Kolchak. 
. . . The time has come, a high official of the govern- 
ment stated tonight, to prepare the people of the anti- 
Bolshevist world for a possible disaster to the Kolchak 
regime in Western Siberia. . . ." 

The following morning, three months after the 
headlines had said 'Kolchak Plans Move on 
Moscow," the Times tolled the bell for the fallen 
Admiral. "Kolchak Beaten" was the caption on 
its editorial. 


As later events demonstrated, the judgment in 
that editorial was entirely sound. Kolchak's day 
was done. But consider, for a moment, the con- 
sequences of "Kolchak Beaten": 

Kolchak was "the All-Russian Government." He 
had been groomed for leadership. Suppose that he 
had failed? Suppose it was clear that he had lost 
his chance to get to Moscow? There might, in that 
case, have been two queries working their way in- 
sidiously into American opinion. First: Where 
was that popular backing which Kolchak's prop- 
agandists had claimed for him? Second: If the 
Soviet Government were to continue to hold power, 
was it not necessary to stop regarding it as a gov- 
ernment we need have no policy about? 

The news suddenly struck a cheerier note. Two 
days after the commemorative editorial, there ap- 
peared in the Times these headlines: 




* # * ' * # * * # 

"Special Cable to the New York Times. London, 
Aug. 14. — American fears that' Admiral Kolchak's 
force is on the eve of collapse have been heard with 
surprise in well informed circles here . . . ." 

The dispatch went on to say that the well- 
informed circles had heard nothing alarming from 
General Knox (in the field with Kolchak), and that 
alarmist reports seemed to "be inspired by deliber- 
ate misrepresentations in Bolshevist wireless re- 
ports." — Propaganda, in other words. 

The Times correspondent in Washington wired 
simultaneously in the same optimistic tone used by 
his brother correspondent in London: "Despite 
the unfavorable news that has come from Omsk re- 
cently, there are many army officers" — no clue to 
their identity — "who do not consider the situation 
in Siberia so bad as it has been painted in the last 
few days. These officers point out that equipment 
should now be reaching Kolchak, and with the Si- 
berian winter," etc ... . Moreover, "the State 
Department received advices from Scandinavian 



August 4, IQ20 

press sources today" — original source of Scandinav- 
ian information not stated — "that conditions in 
Bolshevist Russia are very unsettled, while there is 
underway a great exodus from Moscow, the Bol- 
shevist capital." 

The Strategic Withdrawal 

Nevertheless, the retreat continued. Kolchak's 
army fell back into Asiatic Siberia — lost Tiumen, 
another base of supply. Was it a serious loss? The 
special correspondent of the Times in Washington 
wired on August 18 that "from almost every point 
of military stategy" the position of the Omsk army 
was superior to what it had been "before the recent 
withdrawal of the Kolchak forces began." (Times, 
August 19.) An Associated Press dispatch from 
Tokio (published three days later) was less en- 
couraging; reports apparently reliable, it said, in- 
dicated "that the Omsk government's position is 
growing weaker instead of stronger because of 
the advances of the Bolsheviki and the deser- 
tion of Siberian troops." We had heard very little, 
up to this point, about the desertion of Siberian 

The attempts during the month of September to 
keep an appearance of life in an already dead 
movement were heroic. On September 6, a head- 
line in the Times announced: 

The dispatch that followed (a special to the 
Times from Washington) declared that from what 
was "gathered" in the "Russian Embassy" the tone 
of telegrams from Omsk during the last ten days 
had been "more encouraging and comforting"; 
Kolchak was "making plans for dealing with the 

And though, a few days later, a wireless from 
Moscow claimed the surrender to the Bolsheviki 
of what remained of Kolchak's Southern Army, 
there was at this time a little flurry about Kolchak's 
regaining the offensive. He had, by the end of 
the month, pushed the Soviet troops back seventy- 
five miles, u along the whole front," and taken 
15,000 prisoners. (Associated Press, Omsk, Sep- 
tember 28.) And on October 13, a wireless mes- 
sage from Omsk to London claimed again that "the 
Bolsheviki are retreating along the whole line." 
According to a London dispatch: 

"The message also reports that a Bolshevist wire- 
less dispatch had been received which admitted that 
in a plebiscite in Moscow, the workmen had declared 
themselves against the Soviet and as supporting Ad- 
miral Kolchak." 

Certainly, with the Moscow proletariat coming 
out for Kolchak there was reason to keep faith 

The End of the Kolchak Myth 

The collapse of the "All-Russian Government" 
came suddenly, and for readers of the Times, per- 
haps a little unexpectedly. A brief two weeks 
more, and there arrived direct from Omsk news 
that gave warning of the impending smash. An 
Associated Press dispatch (dated October 29) re- 
ported that "the Siberian armies of Admiral Kol- 
chak have been falling back rapidly since their re- 
cent reverses on the line of the Tobol River." These 
reverses foreshadowed the loss of Kolchak's capital. 
Nevertheless, an Associated Press dispatch from 
Omsk, on November 6, reported that the departure 
of the Allied Missions was "not believed to denote 
any immediate danger to Omsk." But the danger, 
for all that, was there. Nine days later Kolchak 
had fled his capital with the last remnants of his 
army, and the Bolsheviki had marched in. It is 
typical of reports of the whole campaign that even 
in the loss of the capital itself there was consolation 
to be found: 

"Sentiment despite the reverses suffered by the All- 
Russian armies continues in favor of Kolchak and 
the evacuation of Omsk is not regarded as jeopard- 
izing the stability of the government and the integrity 
of the army." (Associated Press, via Novo Niko- 
levsk, November 11.) 

So ended the Kolchak offensive. It ended, as 
it began, on a note of cheer. There was a thin 
stream of later news: the weary withdrawal to 
Tomsk; the further retreat to Irkutsk; the British 
War Office statement (Associated Press, London, 
January 1) that Kolchak had "ceased to be a factor 
in Russian military affairs." 

An extraordinary offensive it had been indeed. It 
never got within four hundred miles of its objective. 
It ended two thousand miles behind the line from 
which it started. On its behalf, when it was mov- 
ing westward, extravagant claims were put forward; 
in retreat, there was constant assurance that an early 
turn was coming. 

Failure of the Allies to send war material was the 
chief cause of Kolchak's rout? You will find Times 
editorials to assure you of that. But you will find 
also Mr. Lloyd George, saying in the House of 
Common, on November 8 : "We have given real 
proof of our sympathy for the men of Russia who 
have helped the Allied cause, by sending one hun- 
dred million sterling worth of material and support 
of every form." 

That was not enough? No. Something more in- 
deed was needed. 'What Kolchak's offensive demon- 
strated was that soldiers, too, were necessary. And 
the soldiers did not materialize — those Russian 
soldiers who, the interventionists had promis- 
ed us, would so willingly flock to Kolchak's stand- 

August 4, IQ20 



VIII. Denikin 

The Denikin government, even more clearly than 
the government of Omsk, was a product of military 
power. Under the Tsar's regime, Denikin had held 
high office. He had once been Chief of Staff; later, 
in command of the Russian armies on the south- 
western front. Apparently he was an able soldier; 
but until his sudden rise to power there was certain- 
ly nothing in his career to mark him as that sort of 
radical democrat who alone could hope to rule suc- 
cessfully in revolutionary Russia. 

What put Denikin at the head of a government 
was simply the support of Cossack troops. The fol- 
lowing dispatch tells the story: 

"Copenhagen, Nov. 20. — The Ukrainian govern- 
ment has been overturned and Kiev has been captured 
by troops from Astrakhan, according to Kiev dis- 
patches to the Swedish newspapers. The Ukrainian 
National Assembly has fled and a Provisional Gov- 
ernment has been established by the captors of the 
city, who are apparently commanded by General 
Denikin, leader of the anti-Bolshevist forces." 

There was no "coup d'etat." Denikin simply 
marched in and smashed the government headed by 
Skoropadski. That government, however, was "pro- 
German"? It has been variously described. Mr. 
Harold Williams, cabling to the Times from 
Geneva, on November 20, asserted that "General 
Skoropadski's last cabinet was pro-Entente, and in- 
stead of independence of the Ukraine demanded a 
union with federated Russia." Whether pro-En- 
tente or pro-German, Bolshevik or Bourbon, one 
thing is clear. It was no sort of popular referendum 
that put an end to the last Ukrainian cabinet. It 
was a Cossack army. 

Democracy in the Ukraine 

Now despite the fact that Denikin had been Chief 
of Staff under the Tsar, despite the fact that he had 
chosen the Tsar's own Foreign Minister (Sergius 
Sazonoff) to represent him internationally, an at- 
tempt was nevertheless made to establish the credit 
of Denikin's government as a democracy. Effort 
to create such an impression, while never so in- 
sistent as in the case of Kolchak, followed the same 
lines. Evidence principally of two sorts was intro- 

First: There were declarations of a democratic 
program. Some of these statements came from the 
government itself. For such statements, needless to 
say, neither the Times nor its field service shares 
any responsibility, Such matter was properly trans- 
mitted as news. But there were certain other oc- 
casions when the correspondent himself undertook 

to describe what the government was up to. Thus 
Mr. Harold Wiliams cabled from Ekaterinodar on 
July 2, 1919: 

"The scheme is clear and simple. It comprises: 
Russia, one and undivided, with broad local self-gov- 
ernment extending in certain regions to autonomy; 
land reforms giving ordered satisfaction to the land 
hunger of the peasantry, an advanced labor program, 
a National Assembly, elected by universal suffrage, to 
determine the form of government, whether republic 
or constitutional monarchy. . . ." 

Was this an accurate report of the intentions of 
the Denikin government on the date it was cabled? 
In such a case, it seems to us, the correspondent and 
his employer owe a responsibility to the public for 
an examination into the sincerity of programs which 
one of them offers as evidence of Denikin's demo- 
cratic intentions, and the other prints. 

The second sort of evidence introduced to sub- 
stantiate the democracy of Denikin's regime con- 
sisted of reports of the loyalty he commanded. 
There were not many such reports, compared with 
the number of similar declarations circulated in 
behalf of Kolchak. But there were enough to sug- 
gest that Denikin had found popular backing. 
Thus Mr. Williams cabled from Ekaterinodar, on 
June 8 : 

"When Denikin passed in his car through the 
streets of Kharkov women weeping for joy pressed 
forward to kiss his hand and those who could not do 
that, kissed even the mud-guards of his car. Endless 
deputations greeted him, among them one of factory 
workers who thanked him for their deliverance from 
the Bolsheviki liberty." 

And again, from Taganrog, on November 20, 
Mr. Williams reported that "the number of volun- 
teers for the army far exceeds the capacity of the 
army to receive them." 

Finally, so far as concessions to Ukrainian na- 
tionalism were concerned, Mr, Wiliams reported 
that Denikin had "made allowance for all reason- 
able demands by pledging himself to a considerable 
degree to the principle of regional autonomy, and 
to permitting the cultivation of the Ukrainian or 
Little Russian language and literature." (Rostov- 
on-Don, September 13.) From the start, less at- 
tention was paid to the political side of Denikin's 
venture than to its military results. Nevertheless 
such reports as these lent a certain aura of democ- 
racy to the leader of anti-Bolshevism in the South, 
Denikin had undertaken the construction of a dem- 
ocratic government, had found popular support and 
had "made allowance for all reasonable demands" 
on the part of Ukrainian nationalism. 



August 4, IQ20 

The Picture Fades 

Suppose one were to consult the dispatches de- 
voted not to celebration of Denikin in the heydey 
of his success, but to explanation of his failure after 
the event? 

From Riga, on December 7, 19 19 — when Deni- 
kin was no longer a real factor in the military situ- 
ation—Mr. Walter Duranty cabled that it was 
"precisely toward the re-establishment of the old 
regime that the Allies* support has been direct- 
ed. No matter what the White leaders may pro- 
fess in the way of liberal intentions, the facts speak 
more loudly still." What were these facts that 
spoke more loudly still? 

From other dispatches to the Times — dispatches 
which arrived when the battle was over, and judg- 
ment of Denikin's regime no longer a critical 
issue — some of these facts may be assembled. 

The cable sent by Mr. Williams on July 2, 19 19, 
with its report of "a National Assembly," etc. (see 
above), must have seemed to many Americans to 
indicate an effort on Denikin's part to establish a 
genuinely democratic and responsible government. 
Yet it was not until seven months later, (February 
2, 1920) that Mr. Williams reported certain po- 
litical developments by which Denikin "ceases to be 
dictator, and has taken the plunge into democ- 

Again, take Mr. Williams's report (November 
20, 19 19) that u the number of volunteers for the 
army far exceeds the capacity of the army to re- 

* The truth of the matter is, that Denikin's government 
grew more and more democratic as his army fell farther 
and farther away from Moscow. In fact, by February 17, 
1920, Mr. Williams reported the creation of a cabinet re- 
sponsible to the elective Assembly. Note that he terms 
this "a complete change in form of government. ,, 

ceive them" — and compare it with the after-the- 
fact explanation made by Mr. E. L. James in a 
special cable from Paris, on January 31, 1920: 

"It is impossible to recruit in Russia an anti-Soviet 
army, large enough to achieve success, according to 
M. Cinguareanu, representing Bessarabia at the peace 
conference. . . . M. Cinguareanu told me that there 
were many reasons why a big anti-Soviet army could 
not be raised in Russia, but all others were subordi- 
nate to one reason, that not enough men could be 
found who wished to fight the Bolsheviki." 

Or compare the early Summer report sent by 
Mr. Williams that Denikin was winning popular 
support with such a cable as the following: 

"Berne, Oct. 11. — The Ukrainian rising against 
General Denikin in southwestern Russia, is continu- 
ing, especially in the neighborhood of Kiev, accord- 
ing to reports received here by the Ukrainian mission. 
. . . Among the troops who are fighting against Gen- 
eral Denikin are many former soldiers and mounted 
peasants who are said to have become enraged against 
the Cossack leader because of alleged atrocities. . . ." 

Mr. Williams had reported that Denikin had 
made "allowance for all reasonable demands" on 
the part of the Ukrainians. Nevertheless, it was 
revolt in the Ukraine — widespread and almost con- 
stant revolt — that played a major part in Denikin's 
ultimate defeat. He pushed his troops toward 
Moscow. But he marched on a bed of quicksand. 
It would be easy, however, to overstress the im- 
portance of the political side of the Denikin ad- 
venture. Kolchak, not Denikin, was the protag- 
onist of democracy in Russian intervention. Deni- 
kin counted by virtue of his army. That army, for 
many months, stood between the American public 
and a realistic appraisal of the situation in Russia. 
How effectively, a summary of the Denikin offen- 
sive will perhaps reveal. 

IX. The Denikin Offensive 

There would be little value in tracing day by 
day the news reports of the campaign in southern 
Russia. The campaign does not fall into the more 
or less clearly marked phases that characterize the 
Kolchak offensive in the East. Furthermore, its 
advances and retreats are more local in character. 
There is not always a general movement of the 
line. Reports of successes in the Caucasus appear 
simultaneously with reports of reverses farther 

Nor is it the purpose of this study to write 
the detailed annals of that campaign. Its purpose 
is rather to review the various news dispatches that 
reached the American reader, and to indicate their 

Cities in South Russia, of course, meant very lit- 

tle to the American public. The fall of Vladikav- 
kaz, of Paulograd, of Kamishin, had no significance 
for the ordinary reader. But the capture of troops 
and guns and war material was another matter. 
One thousand prisoners on Tuesday, two thousand 
on Friday, a steady iteration of this sort of news 
inevitably produces an effect upon the mind of any 

A second factor of importance, from the stand- 
point of the present discussion, is the extent to 
which the American reader was either rightly guid- 
ed or misled, by the conclusions which correspond- 
ents drew from actual achievements in the field. 
It is with an eye upon these two factors, particu- 
larly, that this review of General Denikin's cam- 
paign is written. 

August 4, IQ20 



The Spring of 19 19 

During the months of April, May and June, 
19 19, Denikin' s troops were operating on a line 
running from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Azov. 
Perhaps it will make events more graphic if the 
American analogy is again brought into service. 
Moscow, once more, is represented by Des Moines. 
On that basis, Denikin is operating on a 
line running roughly east and west across cen- 
tral Mississippi and southern Arkansas. He is try- 
ing, of course, to push north. Meantime, an anti- 
Bolshevist army is operating in the Caucasus 
(the Gulf, on our map) ; and there are anti-Bolshe- 
vist Ukrainian troops along the Pripet River 
(much farther north and west; w T e might say, west- 
ern Kansas). 

Without doubt, the Spring offensive in the South 
had one genuinely important result Denikin man- 
aged to cut the contact between Moscow and the 
valuable Donetz coal basin. June was the month 
in which the Soviet armies began their counter-of- 
fensive against Kolchak in the East. Troops from 
the South may have been diverted, and, from the 
Soviet point of view, diverted wisely. But the loss 
of the Donetz region must certainly have been a 
serious one. 

Aside from this success, however, there was no 
great shift in the situation in the South, during the 
months of Spring. Denikin managed to push his 
troops north as far as Paulograd (which might be 
compared to an advance as far as McAlester, Ok- 
lahoma, on the push towards Des Moines). Never- 
theless, there were more or less open promises of 
great things soon to come. The Times on June 
24 printed a special cable from Mr. Harold Wil- 
liams, declaring the rout of Bolshevism on the Eka- 
terinodar front to be "marvellously complete." 
There was also news of trouble on the inside of 
Soviet Russia. A dispatch from the Washington 
Office of the Times reported, on April 22, news 
reaching the State Department that u the Lenin- 
Trotzky regime is beginning to crack.' 1 A special 
dispatch from Geneva, published on the same day, 
asserted that the government was "menaced by an 
entirely new revolutionary movement." And on 
May 24, the Times gave its readers a report more 
promising still : 

"London, May 23. — The entire Bolshevist struc- 
ture in Russia appears to be crumbling. 

"The evacuation of Moscow, the head centre of 
Bolshevism, has begun, according to reports brought 
from Petrograd to Copenhagen by travelers, and for- 
warded by the Exchange Telegraph Company. , . ." 

It was in captures, however, that Denikin's army 
had made a rich showing during the Spring cam- 
paign. "It had already, by June 1 . . . . captured 
50,000 prisoners, 30 guns, 700 machine guns, and 
200 locomotives. M (Times, June 27, special cable 

from London.) Later in the month, 5,500 more 
prisoners, 10 more guns, and three armored trains 
were added. That brought the total for prisoners 
to 55,500, for the guns (including machine guns) 
to 740. These figures let us carry over. 


Denikin's army, by the first of July, had become 
the chief hope of the interventionists. The Kol- 
chak offensive in the East had collapsed. Kolchak 
was back at the line from which he started. But 
Denikin was the new hope of Russia. 

During the months of July and August the anti- 
Bolshevist forces in the South took from the Bol- 
sheviki a half dozen cities of some importance. 
Odessa was their chief prize — although, through- 
out the campaign in the South — the fact that an 
Allied fleet patrolled the Black Sea made Odessa 
a point of less real value to the Soviets than it 
might otherwise have been. Denikin's line by the 
end of August, ran east approximately from Pol- 
tava to Kamishin, via Kharkov and Pavlovsk. That 
is, on an American version of the map, with Des 
Moines representing Moscow — it ran, roughly, 
across the northern end of Oklahoma, Arkansas 
and Tennessee. Kharkov was nearest to Mos- 
cow of the larger cities Denikin had captured. 
And Moscow was still 375 miles away. 

Nevertheless, the reports narrating this advance 
(to a point 375 miles removed from its objective) 
were often put in such a way that a complete col- 
lapse of the Bolshevik defensive was made to seem 
likely. Thus Mr. Williams asserted, in a cable 
published on the 13th of July: 

"There is really nothing now to prevent a rapid 
break through to Moscow, provided communications 
could be secured and civil administration be guar- 
anteed. . . ." 

Headlines told much the same story: 

July j. 



July 10. 

July 16. 






July 24. 
Denikin, to be sure, was moving forward. Did 



August 4, IQ20 

headlines such as these seem to put him very near 
that ultimate success which (as events demonstrat- 
ed) he was due never to attain? There was again, 
in August, the familiar run of prophecy and rumor 
of domestic crises facing the Soviets. On August 
5, the Times published an Associated Press dis- 
patch from Paris, quoting the opinion of a former 
Kerensky Minister that "perhaps the bottom would 
drop from the resistance of the Bolsheviki." A 
week later, a headline in the Times announced: 
"Strikes All Over Russia" — with a report 
that Lenin intended quitting his post. Notice 
how this report came to the American reader from 
its original source, whatever and wherever that 
source may have been. The Times got it from 
some unidentified news service. This service got 
it from its representative in Copenhagen. That rep- 
resentative got it from "dispatches from Helsing- 
fors." And those dispatches, finally, were based on 
"Russian reports." Where these "reports" in turn 
had their source, there was nothing in the dispatch 
to indicate. 

Before leaving the midsummer phase of the cam- 
paign in the South, it is worth noting that during 
the months of July and August there were announc- 
ed in Denikin' s behalf captures amounting to 74,- 
000 prisoners, 60 guns, 150 machine guns, 130 
locomotives, 1200 cars, "large quantities of sup- 
plies and war material," and "about half of the 
military supplies and equipment of the Bolshevist 
troops."* If these figures are amalgamated with 
the captures announced during the Spring, the re- 
ported victories of Denikin had, by the end of 
August, netted him: 

129,500 prisoners, 950 guns, 330 locomotives, 1200 
cars, "large quantities of supplies and war material" ; 
and "about half of the military supplies and equip- 
ment of the Bolshevist troops" 

Late in August a dispatch from London (August 
21) reported that "the latest information" indi- 
cated the strength of the Soviet armies on the south- 
ern front to be 146,000. Denikin's captures, then, 
by the end of August, had amounted to almost as 
many prisoners as there were troops left in the 
army opposing him. 

Denikin's Farthest North 

It was the month and a half beginning early in 
September that saw Denikin at his best. His 
troops during that period occupied a number of 
strategic railway centers, one of which was the im- 
portant city of Kiev. And in mid-October he 
marched into Orel. Orel was Farthest North. 

* This material is drawn from the following sources : 
communique from Omsk, published July 18; unidentified 
dispatch, London, August 1 ; Associated Press, London, 
August 12, quoting War Office report; and unidentified 
dispatch, London, August 28, quoting report from Gen- 
eral Kamontolv. 

Two hundred miles from Moscow, it might be rep- 
resented in the advance upon Des Moines which 
we have imagined, by a point near Topeka, Kansas. 
Beyond Orel, Denikin managed to throw a 
part of his army. But there the tide turned back. 
The present period was marked, as the earlier 
ones had been, by repeated stories of trouble be- 
hind the lines of the Soviet army. Taken by them- 
selves, these stories were enough to keep alive the 
myth that Soviet power might soon be broken; 
coupled with some of the prophecy and suggestion 
contained in the report of the offensive, there may 
have seemed to be no doubt about it. On Septem- 
ber 28, for instance, headlines in the Times an- 
nounced : 


Staff correspondents of the Times in Washing- 
ton, and in Europe, reported that chances seemed 
good for an early and a complete success. Readers 
of the Times were informed, on October 21, of 
the confidence of such an outcome "in diplomatic 
circles" in Washington, diplomatic circles" often 
imparts official color to a dispatch without the as- 
sumption of responsibility. On the present occa- 
sion "diplomatic circles" were reported to feel that 
u a few more successes" for the White armies and 
"the Bolshevist leaders would make a fresh at- 
tempt to negotiate peace." "It is the impression 
here, however, that none of the anti-Bolshevist 
leaders will consider anything but unconditional sur- 
render, and the punishment of the Soviet chief- 

But though its news columns exhaled an air of 
early victory, the Times, it must be said, was more 
cautious editorially. Had the Kolchak fiasco been 
a warning? "Lenin is still strong," said the Times 
on September 25, "but he is far weaker than he 
seemed to be a few weeks ago." Weak indeed, if 
the correspondents of the Times might be relied 
upon. Mr. Walter Duranty, cabling on October 
8, reported "the growing opinion" in Paris, "that 
the days of the present Bolshevist regime are num- 
bered" and that the government of Lenin "will 
be overthrown from within." News of the 
sort of thing Mr. Duranty may have had in mind 
appeared in the Times a few days later (October 



"Copenhagen, Oct. 11. — According to a dispatch 
from Helsingfors, Russian newspapers report that 
serious fighting has broken out in Petrograd between 
adherents and opponents of the Soviet regime. 

"The 'Counter Revolutionaries' have taken posses- 


)iugUSt 4, IQ2Q 



sion of several important buildings and Government 
institutions, it is said. . . ." 

Revolution in Petrograd, reports from Paris 
that the days of the Soviet government were num- 
bered, Denikin moving upon Moscow, — a reader 
might not have guessed that six months later the 
Soviets would still remain in power. Moreover, 
there were more impressive reports of prisoners 
captured and war material taken by Denikin. How 
copious those captures were, the following table 
shows. (Duplications have been omitted, as in all 
earlier tabulations.) 

Denikin in Retreat 

Source, Prisoners. 

Associated Press, London, 11 

Sept. 13, quoting British 

War Office 9,000 

Special cable, Harold 
Williams, Taganrog, 

(published Sept. 18) 13,000 

Special cable, Harold 
Williams, Rostov-on-Don 

(published Sept. 28) 13,600 

Unidentified dispatch, Lon- 
don, Oct. 7, quoting a 

Denikin communique 15,000 

Unidentified dispatch, Lon- 
don, Oct. 13, quoting a 

Denikin communique 5,000 

Associated Press, London, 
Oct. 16, quoting a Deni- 
kin communique 5,000 

Unidentified dispatch, Lon- 
don, Nov. 5, quoting a 

Denikin communique 55,000 

War Material. 
guns, 100 machine 

"a large amount of 

27 guns and "many ma- 
chine guns." 

Total 115,600 

It had been estimated, let us remember, on the 
basis of "the latest information," that on August 
21, the Soviet forces on the southern front amount- 
ed to 146,000 troops. Since that date, Denikin's 
announced captures had amounted to 115 ,600. 
There was left, then, the small force of 30,400 men 
to defend Moscow (assuming there had been no 
one killed or wounded; in that case there would 
have been fewer still). Other troops were rushed 
in as reinforcements? Presumably* But let us 
remember, too, that during the time with which 
we are now dealing, the Bolsheviki were also oper- 
ating against Kolchak in the East — a thousand 
miles away from Moscow. Just how inexhaustible 
were the troops and the supplies of this tottering 
and distracted government? Total the figures 
given in these tables, and you will find that between 
April 1st and late October Denikin's forces cap- 
tured 1,008 guns (of various sorts) and no fewer 
than 245,100 Bolsheviki. And yet, there came a 
turning of the tide. 

The turning, we have said, came, in late October. 
There were, to be sure, later offensives on Den- 
ikhVs part, some of them recovering considerable 
territory. But from this time forward, most of 
Denikin's announced successes were on one flank 
or another. He pressed no nearer Moscow. Re- 
volts behind his own line, in Ukrainia, were costly. 
By the end of November, Soviet troops were 120 
miles south of Orel. Three weeks more, and they 
had recovered Kiev and Kharkov. At that point, 
a dispatch from London (December 18) summar- 
ized the opinion of the British War Office: 

"During the last week, the Bolsheviki have com- 
pelled Denikin to withdraw another fifty miles along 
a vast front .... the present indications are there 
is no reason why the Reds should not continue to 

By the end of the month Soviet troops had re- 
covered Ekaterinoslav; three weeks more, and they 
were in Odessa — with a line flung eastward to the 
Sal River, six hundred miles southeast of Moscow. 
The campaign in South Russia was ended. On 
March 4 came this dispatch from London: "The 
complete elimination of the forces of General Den- 
ikin in South Russia has been brought about, ac- 
cording to expert interpretation of the War Office 
advices of the past week's operations. ..." 

And yet, throughout this vast retreat, what sort 
of news arrived from the staff correspondent of the 
Times with Denikin's forces in South Russia? Was 
it plain statement of events? Or was there once 
more that false note of optimism, keeping alive 
the old belief that there was no need of revaluating 
our policy of intervention? Let us examine a few 
of Mr. Harold Williams's dispatches, printed in 
the Times not in the first days of the retreat, but 
after a summary of British War Office opinion 
had reported that Denikin was falling back "along 
a vast front" and that there appeared to be no 
military reason "why the Reds should not continue 
to advance." 

From Denikin's headquarters in South Russia, 
on December 16, Mr. Williams sent this message 
to counteract any "wrong impression": 

"The spectacular fall of Kharkov may easily give 
a wrong impression of the situation here. It is neces- 
sary, therefore, to say that in Denikin's armies there 
is no impression or expectation of defeat. The losses 
during the retreat have been small, and great has 
been the army's disappointment at leaving the area 
recently conquered. There are not the faintest symp- 
toms of debacle, and the determination to win is as 
strong as ever. . . ." 

Mr. Williams, all along, had the disadvantage of 
poor cable communications. There was, according- 
ly, little snap left in his prophecies by the time they 



August 4, ig2o 

actually got published. The present message ap- 
peared in the Times on December 27 — and by 
that time Soviet armies were eighty miles south- 
west of the city whose loss Mr. Williams had mini- 

Again, from Novorossysk, on January 12, Mr. 
Williams cabled that Denikin' s army had "been 
greatly strengthened by the infusion of fresh 
troops"; but two days after this report had found 
its way to New York and appeared in print (Jan- 
uary 21), a Moscow wireless announced that Soviet 
troops were within six miles of the Black Sea at 
Perekop. On February 2, Mr. Williams, cabled 
(again from Novorossysk) that "the position- at 
the front is steadily improving." In fact, "the 
morale of the Bolshevist troops seems suddenly to 
have collapsed." But that optimistic message did 
not get into print until February 18. And in the 
Times of that same date appeared a Moscow wire- 

less announcing that Denikin's army had subse- 
quently been driven back to the Sea of Azov. 

With this sort of alternately exploded and re- 
viving optimism, the campaign in southern Russia 
died gradually away. Denikin's offensive, like Kol- 
chak's, showed how little popular support the in- 
terventionists could muster. Denikin, like Kol- 
chak, drew supplies and equipment from the Allies, 
Probably he was even better cared for. But he 
could not march to Moscow, he could not even hold 
the line from which he started, because behind him 
there was no body of genuine enthusiasm. For 
Denikin's offensive, as for Kolchak's, great claims 
were made in the campaign's early stages. And 
when the later stages came, when Denikin's troops 
were driven hundreds of miles by the beaten armies 
of a tottering government, at least one voice was 
raised to cry "This can't be true!" That voice be- 
longed to the correspondent of the Times. 

X. The West Front 

From Kolchak and Denikin we turn to the West 
front, omitting from this study the question of in- 
tervention in the North. That chapter is not in- 
cluded because this is primarily a study of Russian 
news, not Russian history, and the news from Arch- 
angel — throughout the period of Allied occupation 
— was limited principally to brief reports of mili- 
tary engagements. We believe that there were de- 
velopments in Archangel, particularly in the dic- 
tatorship of Russian civil government exercised by 
Allied soldiers, which failed to receive adequate 
description in the Times. We have chosen, how- 
ever, throughout this study to limit our case prim- 
arily to the news as printed. Partly for that rea- 
son, and partly because the Archangel adventure 
was never on the main track to some new "All-Rus- 
sian Government," we pass over an experiment 
both disingenuous and disastrous. 

On the West front intervention never attained 
the scope it had in the East and South: There were 
neither Czechoslovaks nor Don and Kuban Cos- 
sacks upon whom it could be based. The offensives 
were the work of Finns and Letts and other border 
peoples, assisted by certain numbers of anti-Bolshe- 
vist Russians. To such forces the French and 
British governments lent aid. The French supplied 
military advisers; the British dispatched warships 
to the Gulf of Finland; and both governments fur- 
nished materials of war. 

But while intervention in the West was upon a 
scale more limited than that upon the other fronts, 
it played nevertheless an important part in the 
familiar process of convincing the western world 
that Soviet power was cracking, and that foreign 

armies would be welcomed by the Russian people. 
There were two offensives in the West: one in the 
Spring of 19 19, which the Finns and Esthonians 
started; the other in the Fall, chiefly the affair of 
the "Northwestern Army" under Yudenitch. Why 
the Finns and Esthonians should have been so con- 
cerned about law and order in Russia as to want to 
invade the country, remains a question still unan- 

The Spring Offensive 

Petrograd, of course, was the objective of both 
campaigns in the West. To its assailants, the city 
offered none of the tremendous distances involved 
in an advance upon Moscow. It lay just across 
the border from Finland, not much more than a 
hundred miles from the eastern line of Esthonia. 
At home, in their own capitals, the Esthonians and 
the Finns were nearer Petrograd than either Kol- 
chak or Denikin ever got to Moscow. 

The first offensive in the West began late in 
April, 1919. On May 2, the Times published an 
unidentified dispatch from Helsingfors announcing 
that Petrograd was "being evacuated by the Bol- 
sheviki." This dispatch was based on "reports 
from reliable sources." Two days later, there ap- 
peared on the first page of the Times the headline; 

The source of this news was another unidentified 
dispatch, this time from Paris: "Petrograd has 
probably been taken by the Finns, according to in- 
formation believed to be trustworthy, which has 
reached Paris." 

August 4, IQ20 



But though "reports from reliable sources" and 
"information believed to be trustworthy," were thus 
encouraging, Petrograd was not doomed to fall this 
early in the Spring. It simply disappeared from the 
news for a few days — and then a fresh start was 
made. On May 13, headlines announced: 


Three thousand troops were to march on Petro- 
grad from the southern shore of the Gulf of Fin- 
land, three thousand more from the Olonetz dis- 
trict on the North. This information was supplied 
by a dispatch from London, quoting a Socialist 
newspaper published in Helsingfors. Would the 
advancing columns reach the city? 

The following morning there were headlines 


Mr. Tredwell's reports (according to a special 
dispatch from Washington) had strengthened the 
belief "of officials here" that the "days of the 
Lenin-Trotzky regime are numbered." Two more 
days, and a dispatch from Helsingfors (based on 
"reports received here") announced that again the 
government had advised people living in Petro- 
grad to leave without delay. 

What happened, next, the following headlines 
show : 

May 25. 

May 28. 




June 4* 




These headlines marked the high tide of the first 
offensive. What happened afterwards is not quite 
clear. There was a report, several weeks later, 
(Reval to Helsingfors to London to New York, 
published June 17) that the naval base of Kron- 
stadt was about to be captured by anti-Soviet ar- 
mies. But a little later (July 7) the Esthonian 
Bureau announced quite unexpectedly that the at- 
tacking army had "suffered a reverse." It was 
u now in full retreat." The first offensive was end- 
ed. 1 

But not without results. Twice Petrograd had 
been evacuated. Three times it had fallen. And 
since the collapse of the attacking army received 
nothing like the headlines and the news position that 
went to the "evacuations" and the "falls," a reader 
of the Times might be pardoned if he found him- 
self, at the end of the offensive, believing the hold 
of the Soviets on Petrograd a tenuous one at best. 

The Second Victory 

During the Summer months there was little news 
of the attack upon Petrograd; but early in the Fall 
the second offensive started with Yudenitch in com- 
mand. It moved quickly. By October 12 it had 
reached Jamburg, seventy-five miles southwest of 
Petrograd. (There were so few casualties for 
Yudenitch at Jamburg — twenty-seven killed and 
one hundred fifty wounded — that it seemed to some 
observers possible that the Soviet troops intended 
to make their stand in the defenses of Petrograd 
itself.) One day later and Yudenitch was approach- 
ing Gatschina, thirty-five miles from Petrograd. 
Four days more, and an Associated Press dispatch 
from Stockholm announced the capture of the 
fortress of Kronstadt by a British fleet ("according 
to advices received here"). And then, on the fol- 
lowing morning, and continuing for four successive 
days, began perhaps as remarkable a series of head- 
lines as ever the Times has published: 

October 18. 




October iq. 




October 20. 

October 21 




On to Moscow? Well, not immediately. Ac- 
cording to a special dispatch from Washington, 
also published on the 21st: "Word was received 
today to the effect that Gen. Yudenitch, if he cap- 
tures Petrograd, will not immediately move against 
Moscow, but will stay in Petrograd long enough 
to organize the population and create a more ef- 
fective force for the southward movement." Mos- 



August 4, IQ20 

cow could wait. "It is believed here that Denikin 
will have invested Moscow before Yudenitch is 
ready to march against the Soviet capital." 

So unreliable did these dispatches prove to be 
that the Times itself, after its four days of head- 
lines, lamented in an editorial the quality of its 
news. The four reports had been based respective- 
ly on a dispatch received in Stockholm; on "the lat- 
est official advices" received in London; on u a tele- 
gram received at the Russian Embassy in Paris"; 
and on a statement of the British War Office plus 
"a message from Helsingfors." Coming on suc- 
cessive days they marked the high point of success 
for Yudenitch. During the week that followed, 
sensational headlines disappeared. There was still 
encouraging news: "The fall of Petrograd is in- 
evitable, according to reliable advices," said an 
unidentified dispatch from Reval, dated October 
26. But the offensive, for all that, had reached its 
end. From London, an Associated Press dispatch, 
dated only one day later, reported: "The chances 
of General Yudenitch, commander of the Russian 
Northwestern Army, capturing Petrograd before 
Winter puts an end to operations, seem again to 
be fading." Overnight the situation had so chang- 
ed that what had been considered "inevitable" in 
Reval on Saturday was, by Sunday, "fading" in 

The fading, once started, proved a rapid process. 
"Extraordinary pressure" was brought to bear to 
induce Finland to join in the attack (Associated 
Press, Helsingfors, October 30) ; but while Finland 
hesitated, Yudenitch continued to fall back. By 
November 4, Soviet troops had recovered Gat- 
schina; a week later, Mr. Walter Duranty cabled 
to the Times from Stockholm: "It is believed that 

Yudenitch is thoroughly beaten." The offensive had 

Yudenitch, like Kolchak and Denikin, had found 
no soldiers with loyalty sufficient for his enterprise. 
Whether his army actually melted away in its ad- 
vance upon Petrograd (as a Kornilov army once 
melted) we were not told. But once it had met 
reverses, once it was checked, its disintegration 
proved again that there was no real support for 
the interventionists, A reverse that might have 
proved temporary became nothing less than defeat 
itself, because there was no real loyalty to the 
cause. Yudenitch's soldiers left him. His forces 
dwindled. By November 24, the Esthonian Chief 
of Staff reported that the Yudenitch Army "had 
virtually gone out of existence." 

Yudenitch was an adventurer. There is no more 
grim appraisal of the cause he represented, the 
character of intervention in the West, than this 
brief item in the Times of February 29 : 



100,000,000 MARKS 

"Copenhagen, Feb. 27. — It is officially announced 
that the Latvian Government has permitted General 
Nicholas Yudenitch, former Commander of the 
Northwestern Army, and some of his staff officers, 
to proceed to Paris, by way of Libau. 

"The Berlingske Tidende's Reval correspondent 
says that General Yudenitch and his Generals left 
Esthonia in an automobile flying the British flag. 
The correspondent states that Yudenitch is taking his 
private fortune, estimated at 100,000,000 Esthonian 
marks. Of Yudenitch's army, it is said, there remain 
in Esthonia 12,000 men, who are suffering from 
spotted typhus. There are also in Esthonia 21,000 
hunger-stricken fugitives." 

XL The Offensive Against Poland 

The activity of Poland's army, unlike that of the 
other anti-Bolshevist armies, was theoretically lim- 
ited to the defensive. It was never advertised for 
an advance upon Petrograd, as was the army of 
Yudenitch; nor for a march on Moscow, like the 
armies of Kolchak and Denikin. It was, so far as 
official statement went, an army fighting to preserve 
that new state created in the councils of Versailles. 

Poland, however, was the keystone of the cordon 
sanitaire which Foch and Clemenceau endeavored 
to build around Soviet Russia. The ostensible rea- 
son for this cordon sanitaire was the danger of Rus- 
sian armies carrying Bolshevism into western Eu- 
rope. That danger the Polish statesmen frequently 
proclaimed. Soviet Russia, according to their evi- 
dence, was continually on the point of launching an 
offensive against Poland. America and the Allies 

were summoned to the rescue. Poland needed guns 
and ammunition. 

Were the war materials that Poland sought in 
fact to be used exclusively for the protection of 
Poland's frontier? Or were they wanted for an 
offensive — an offensive which was to dig deeper 
into Russia, to cut a larger slice of territory for 
new Poland than the generous diplomats in Paris 
had awarded her? 

We know, now y two things indisputably : 

First: that by December 2, 1919, the Polish ar- 
mies were more than 180 miles deep in Russian ter- 
ritory (General Bliss told this to a Congressional 
committee on January 15; it must have shocked 
Congressmen who had been reading about the So- 
viet offensive). 

Second: that Poland, on February 24, 1920, put 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 



in a claim for an eastern frontier as it existed in 
I77 2 — a claim which the Times' own Washington 
correspondent characterized as so ambitious that it 
might "threaten the future peace and stability of 
that part of Europe unless the program of the Pol- 
ish imperialists is abandoned." (Times, March 7, 

Now, these facts are known to most people 
today. It was not until July of 1920, in fact, that 
the Soviets started a counter-ofienslvc against the 
Polish army. That Polish army, meantime, had 
for more than a year and a half been deep in Rus- 
sian soil. And the theory that a Polish army 
can be advancing into Russia and still be on the 
defensive is a theory many reasonable people have 
found difficult to accept. Since General Bliss made 
his statement and since the Polish diplomats put 
up their peace terms, there is probably a growing 
number of Americans who suspect that for a year 
and a half the repeated threats of a Bolshevist of- 
fensive simply served as a smokescreen for Polish 

There is no criticsm to be made of a newspaper 
or a press service for reporting the opinions of 
Polish or any other statesmen, provided such opin- 
ions come clearly labelled.* Collecting such ma- 
terial is part of the business of news-gathering. But 
is it not another matter if the propaganda of states- 
men appears in the form of news? We quote a few 
dispatches descriptive of the relations between 
Poland and Soviet Russia. In our opinion it is fair 
to say that in the guise of news they picture Rus- 
sia, and not Poland, as the aggressor as early as 
January, 19 19. What was the actual situation, at 
the time each dispatch was filed? 
January 1, IQ19. 

On this date, the Times published an Associated 
Press dispatch from Warsaw, December 30. 
"Poland," is said, "is preparing for a military 
campaign along her entire Russian frontier .... 
The Bolsheviki have forced the Poles to take up 
arms by their advance into Polish territory" 
(Italics ours.) 

At what point were the Bolsheviki advancing 
into Polish territory? The same dispatch had this 
to say: "The Bolsheviki are advancing toward 
Vilna." Now where is Vilna? Is it in Poland? 
For the reader of this dispatch, that is certainly the 
inference to be drawn. But Vilna, as a matter of 
real fact, is east of the boundaries later drawn for 
Poland by the Conference of Versailles. Of course 
the man familiar with Eastern Europe or the man 
who reads with an ethnographic map in hand, 

* A scrupulous editor might have felt it necessary in the 
case of these threats of a Soviet offensive against Poland, 
to have added a note for the benefit of his readers. He 
might have suggested, for instance: "It is hard to see how 
a Soviet mobilization against foreign troops 180 miles deep 
in Russian territory can be called an offensive/' 

could set himself right by locating Vilna. But 
how many readers are of that sort? In this 
dispatch it is explicitly stated that "the Bolsheviki 
have forced the Poles to take up arms by their 
advance into Polish territory"; and then, as evi- 
dence, is cited an advance upon Vilna, a city outside 
Polish borders. Was the correspondent of the 
Associated Press in Warsaw proceeding on the 
assumption that the Peace Conference would as- 
sign to Poland this city which he defined as "Polish 

January 22, 1Q20. 
The Spring offensive of 1919 had not material- 
ized. Would there be a Spring offensive of 1920? 
A special to the Times from Washington, dated 
January 21, made this flat statement, and made it 
as news: 

"The strategy of the Bolshevist military campaign 
during the coming Spring contemplates a massed at- 
tack against Poland, as the first step in a projected 
Red invasion of Europe and a military diversion 
through Turkestan and Afghanistan toward India. 
Plans for both campaigns are well under way, ac- 
cording to the best military and diplomatic intelli- 
gence received in Washington," etc. 

Eight days later, as a matter of fact, the Soviet 
government again "recognized the independence 
and sovereignty of the Polish republic" and again 
invited Polish statesmen to enter into peace discus- 
sions. That offer was insincere? Assume it was. 
Where were Polish troops when Russia was plan- 
ning u a projected Red invasion of Europe"? They 
were (see General Bliss's testimony) 180 miles 
across their border into Russia. 

February 16, 1920. 
One further instance: A special cable to the 
Times from Copenhagen, dated February 15, again 
made a flat statement of fact: 

"Information collected from reliable agents in 
Russia leaves no doubt that the Bolsheviki are pre- 
paring an enormous offensive against Poland, for 
early in the Spring, that negotiations with England 
are only to gain time, and then, Poland, undermined 
by propaganda, cannot resist the Soviet Army of 

On this date not only were Polish troops still 
deep in Russian territory, but in the Times itself it 
was reported (special dispatch from Washington, 
March 6) that the Polish representative in Paris 
refused to ''transmit to Poland the demand of the 
Allies for withdrawal of Polish troops to the ethno- 
graphic frontier fixed by the Allied Supreme Coun- 

Soviet Russia, the aggressor; Poland desperately 
in need of assistance that she might hold the fron- 
tiers assigned her by the Peace Conference — that, 
we believe, is the conclusion a reader might have 
drawn from many dispatches in the Times while 



August </, IQ20 

Polish troops were still on Russian soil. There 
is one particularly illuminating incident. It is un- 
important, but it throws a light on the handling of 
Polish-Russian news in the columns of the Times. 
On March 4th appeared this dispatch: 

London, March 3. — A Moscow wireless dispatch 
received here, says the proposed peace conditions with 
Poland have been denounced as extravagant. The 

dispatch adds that Nikolai Lenin, the Bolshevist Pre- 
mier, in a speech at the Cossack Congress said : 

"If the Polish aggressor invades our country, we 
will give him a blow that will not be forgotten." 

Lenin declared that Russia would fight in self- 
defense. And the headline in the Times read: 


XII. When Intervention Failed 

One section more will serve to bring this study 
to an end; for with the collapse of intervention, 
in the last months of 1919, relations between Russia 
and the Allied world entered a deadlock during 
which a single, easily discernible note has dominat- 
ed the news of Russia, as that news finds expression 
in the columns of the Times. 

Before turning to this final chapter, however, it 
is worth while to note one factor which in our 
opinion played a substantial part in keeping many 
Americans satisfied that there was no better policy 
to be adopted towards Russia, from February to 
November, 19 19, than the policy of helping White 
Guards make their wars. This factor is the inade- 
quate and therefore misleading fashion in which 
were reported the several efforts of the Allied Pow- 
ers, during that period, to give their policy a new 

Of these efforts the Prinkipo proposal was the 
first. Why did that program fail? On March 1, 
19 19, the Times printed a dispatch from Paris, 
quoting M. Clemenceau's aide, M. Andre Tar- 

"There was no longer any question of going on 
with the Prinkipo conference, he informed the cor- 
respondents. He said that the Bolsheviki had 
failed to comply with the conditions laid down by the 
Entente as to a suspension of hostilities and that the 
Allies had in view new methods of restoring order in 
Russia and were examining available means to carry 
out this purpose." 

Had the Soviets in fact refused u to comply with 
the conditions laid down by the Entente as to a sus- 
pension of hostilities"? Examine the Soviet reply 
to the Prinkipo proposal, as printed in the Times 
(February 7) : 

"The Russian Soviet Government, in a wireless 
message to the Entente Governments sent out from 
Moscow by M. Tchitcherin, Minister of Foreign Af- 
fairs, announcing that it is willing to begin conversa- 
tions with the Entente with the object of bringing 
about a cessation of military activities, declares it is 
willing to acknowledge financial obligations regard- 
ing the creditors of Russia of Entente nationality. 
Moreover it offers to guarantee the payment of inter- 
est on its debts by means of stipulated quantities of 

raw materials, and to place concessions in mines, for- 
ests, etc., at the disposal of citizens of the Entente, 
provided 'the social and economic order of the Soviet 
Government is not affected by internal disorders con- 
nected with these concessions.' The message adds: 
The extent to which the Soviet Government is pre- 
pared to meet the Entente will depend on its military 
position in relation to that of the Entente Govern- 
ments, and it must be emphasized that its position 
improves every day'. M 

This constitutes the full reply of the Soviet gov- 
ernment, as printed in the Times. And it lends it- 
self to M. Tardieu's interpretation. For though it 
considers other subjects, in it there is not a word 
about willingness to suspend hostilities. 

Compare, however, this abbreviated version of 
the reply with the full statement as now published 
in "Russian-American Relations."* In this com- 
plete statement the Soviet government declares it- 
self "anxious to secure an agreement that would 
put an end to hostilities"; it is, in fact, ready to 
discuss "the question of annexation of Russian ter- 
ritories by the Entente Powers," or by "forces 
which . . . receive financial, technical, military, or 
any other support from them" — in other words, 
Kolchak and Denikin. 

What is the meaning of this discrepancy between 
the complete and the abridged versions of the So- 
viet reply? Simply this: that whoever prepared 
the abridged version for publication — whether gov- 
ernment censor or correspondent or editor — omit- 
ted from that version the offer of the Soviet gov- 
ernment to conclude an armistice — and that subse- 
quently it was on the ground of Soviet unwilling- 
ness to quit fighting that M. Tardieu, official rep- 
resentative of France, justified the abandonment of 
the whole plan. The Allies may indeed have been 
unwilling to trust the word of the Russian govern- 
ment — though to it they addressed a formal pro- 
posal. The fact remains that Americans who re- 
lied on the Times' version of the Soviet reply were 

* "Russian-American Relations, 1917-1920" (page 298). 
As an earlier footnote has pointed out, one of the three 
men who directed the preparation of this volume — William 
Allen White — was selected by President Wilson as Amer- 
ican representative at the Prinkipo conference. 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 



simply not supplied with a fact necessary to an in- 
telligent understanding of why the Prinkipo plan 
was a failure. Read in the light of the complete 
statement certain other news items appearing about 
the same time assume more significance. In the 
three weeks before M. Tardieu gave the press his 
explanation, you find not all the fighting in Russia 
was being done by the Soviet forces: an Allied of- 
fensive had been started near Kadish, in the North 
(Times, February 9) ; Denikin had reached the 
Caspian Sea after a march in which he scattered 
u over 100,000 Bolsheviki" (Times, February 19) ; 
Polish forces were "steadily advancing along the 
railways" — advancing into Russia — and thus far 
they had "met with no determined resistance from 
the Bolsheviki" (Times, February 23). In these 
circumstances the complete reply of the Soviets to 
the Prinkipo offer would have been instructive. It 
was not available. 

Dr. Nansen 

The Nansen offer, following close upon the heels 
of the Prinkipo affair, serves as a second incident of 
the sort with which we are now dealing. On April 
3* (19 19) Dr. Fridtjof Nansen proposed to the 
Supreme Council his plan for "a purely humanitar- 
ian commission for the provisioning of Russia." 
On April 17* the Supreme Council, declaring it 
"shocking to humanity that millions of men, women 
and children lack the food and the necessities which 
make life endurable," marked out the conditions 
of its cooperation and asserted that upon those con- 
ditions "we should be prepared to give it our full 
support." Yet the plan failed. Nothing came of 
the sudden humanitarian interest. Why? 

"Lenin Rejects Feeding Project," said head- 
lines in the Times, on May 14 — and this report 
followed : 

"Paris, May 13, (Associated Press) — A wireless 
message received here addressed to Dr. Fridtjof 
Nansen, head of the commission to feed Russia, from 
M. Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist Foreign Minister, and 
relayed by the Foreign Office at Berlin, announces 
that the Bolsheviki refuse to cease hostilities as a con- 
dition of the provisioning of Russia by neutrals. 

"Tchitcherin says he received Dr. Nansen's com- 
munication, dated April 17, on May 4. He thanks 
Nansen for his interest in the conditions in Russia, 
but declares that a continuation of hostilities is neces- 
sary for political reasons and that it would be poor 
policy to stop them. The Soviet Government, he 
adds, is willing to support a movement to feed Russia 
so long as it has no political character, 'but will not 
be duped'. 

"He then goes on to denounce Admiral Kolchak 
and General Denikin, and concludes by declaring 

that it will be impossible to give up fighting, as ene- 
mies are attacking on all sides." 

How accurate a version of the Soviet reply did 
this summary offer? It makes an interesting com- 
parison with the complete document.* In the first 
place, that document is more than 1,300 words in 
length — and even the best reporter or the most 
conscientious censor (whichever did the editing in 
this case) must supply a necessarily inadequate ver- 
sion when he compresses a document of that length 
into 144 words. If the complete reply was avail- 
able to the Associated Press agent, this would seem 
to have been one of those occasions (particularly 
in view of the unimportant material which often 
comes over the wires) when he was warranted in 
sending a full text. It may be that a more adequate 
summary was indeed cabled by the Associated 
Press, and that the pruning was done somewhere on 
this side of the Atlantic. In any event, either cen- 
sor, correspondent or editor missed a chance of sup- 
plying the American public with information neces- 
sary for an independent judgment of the situation. 

But this is not all. The published summary is 
not only abbreviated, but it omits entirely the one 
point in the complete document which in our opinion 
is most relevant. According to the published sum- 
mary, the Soviets declare "it will be impossible to 
give up fighting." What does the unabridged text 
say, at this point? 

"We are in a position to discuss cessation of hostil- 
ities only if we discuss the whole problem of our 
relations to our adversaries — that is, in the first place, 
to the Associated Governments. That means to dis- 
cuss peace, and to open real negotiations bearing upon 
the true reasons for the war waged upon us, and upon 
those conditions that can bring us lasting peace. We 
were always ready to enter into peace negotiations, 
and we are ready to do it now as before." 

Add this passage to the Soviet reply as published 
in the Times of May 14. It does not, to be sure, 
alter the fact that the Soviet government turned 
down the Nansen offer. The Soviets did reject that 
proposal, as the headlines said they did. But their 
declared reason for rejecting it — a reason indicated 
neither in headlines nor in the dispatch — was not 
because they chose to keep on fighting, but because 
they asserted only a general peace could put an end 
to war. This was an irrelevant observation? No. 
The Council of Four, in its reply to Dr. Nansen, 
had declared that any "relief to Russia which did 
not mean a return to a state of peace would be 
futile and would be impossible to consider." The 
Soviet government thereupon declared its willing- 
ness "to discuss peace and to open real negotia- 
tions." Its offer may have been disingenuous. The 
Council of Four, though it declared for peace, may 

* See "Russian-American Relations, 191 7-1920" (pages 

* Now published in "Russian- American Relations, 191 7- 
1920" (page 332). 




have been unwilling to face it, when it came. But 
this was not the phase of the question suggested to 
the American public by the abridged version of the 
Russian reply published in the Times. That abridg- 
ed version declared the Soviet reply to be: "it will 
be impossible to give up fighting." The proposal 
for a general peace was entirely omitted. Six days 
later (May 20) the Times published this second 
dispatch — a tombstone marking the burial spot of 
Dr. Nansen's plan: 

"Paris, May 18. — There is a general impression 
that the reply of M. Tchitcherin, Bolshevist Foreign 
Minister of Russia, to Dr. Fridtjof Nansen's pro- 
posals to feed Russia, brings the whole project to a 
close. The reply is generally accepted here as, in 
effect, a refusal by the Bolsheviki to cease attempting 
to invade their neighbors' territory. . . ." 

War's End 

The failure of the Nansen plan and of the 
Prinkipo conference, with the subsequent and equal- 
ly dismal failure of the three White Generals, 
brought the Allies through their second year of in- 
decision and left them, at the end of 19 19, no 
nearer peace in Eastern Europe than they had been 
before. The period which followed, the period 
with which this study closes, may be said to have 
had its beginning in November, 19 19. By that 
time there was little hope left of success for the 
White armies. Kolchak was "falling back rapidly" 
in Siberia (Associated Press dispatch dated October 
29) ; Yudenitch had had his second try at Petro- 
grad, and missed it; Denikin had touched his farth- 
est north, and now was facing south again. Winter 
promised little to the interventionists. 

Out of the failure of the White Generals might 
have come, in those days of early winter, a break 
in the current of American opinion. Intervention 
was discredited. So was the myth of a Soviet Gov- 
ernment perpetually tottering on the brink of de- 
struction. If the Soviets were there to stay, even 
though their stay be temporary, was it not neces- 
sary to revaluate the policy of the Allies? Reports 
of atrocities — there had been scores of such reports, 
during 19 19 — had kindled in American opinion no 
feeling of respect or friendliness for the Soviet 
Government. But war had failed. War in Eastern 
Europe meant no peace for the rest of the world. 
Why not try peace with Russia? Not peace in its 
diplomatic sense, probably, with loans and treaties, 
and all that may accompany formal recognition. 
But peace in the sense of having nothing more 
to do with playing favorities, with dis- 
patching arms to one faction at the expense of 
another. Peace, too, in the matter of the blockade, 
with medicines for a stricken country, and a re- 
sumption of trade relations provisional upon good 
behavior in respect to "international propaganda." 

Some such policy, we believe, was a natural out- 
growth of the factors in the Russian situation at 
the end of 19 19 — an outgrowth of the failure of 
intervention, of the natural reaction from war 
towards peace, and of the uneasiness that must have 
been growing in the minds of many normally gener- 
ous Americans over a policy which condemned to 
starvation and to death by disease many Russian 
men and women innocent of all complicity in the 
Soviet adventure. What prevented these opinions 
from ripening into insistence upon a re-assessment 
of American policy toward Russia? 

Doubtless a number of different factors played 
their part. One factor, we believe, falls within the 
range of this present study: the character of the 
news about Russia coming in a rush during the final 
period with which we are now dealing. 

From the time the three White Generals had 
started their offensives until the winter months came 
round, the dominant note in the news — as the fore- 
going sections amply illustrated — had been one of 
all-pervading optimism. Kolchak and Denikin 
were on more than one occasion advancing upon 
Moscow — Yudenitch, upon Petrograd. And from 
within Soviet Russia, we remember, came many re- 
ports of crises and counter-revolutions heralded in 
headlines as foreshadowing the doom of Soviet 
power. In the months between March and No- 
vember, 19 19, there was little in the news about 
Red Peril. White was triumphant. 

Once before, in such a moment as this, when Al- 
lied diplomacy had come squarely to the cross-roads, 
the Red Peril played a part in turning it from peace. 
That, as an earlier section of this study has told, 
was immediately after the armistice — when there 
was no longer motive for reconstituting an eastern 
front, and when reason pointed to a withdrawal 
of troops from alien soil. Then the Red Peril ap- 
peared — furnishing a new cause for intervention. 
Once again, at the present cross-roads, that Peril 
emerged from the oblivion to which the past six 
months had relegated it — and cast its shadow on 
the sky. 

Early November (19 19) marked its reappear- 
ance. On the 10th of that month the Times printed 
a special cable from London. "Attempts were made 
in several countries over the week-end," it read, "to 
put into operation an ambitious program of a 'Red' 
international effort at a world rising in support of 
Bolshevism." Four days later appeared another 
dispatch from London: 



London, Nov. 13. — Nicolai Lenin, the Russian 
Bolshevist Premier, has sent a letter to Turkestan 
Communists in which he says that the restoration of 
communications between Soviet Russia and Turkestan 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 



"opens the way for a struggle against universal im- 
perialism headed by Great Britain," 

The message is interpreted here as a hint at opera- 
tions in the direction of British India. 

Two weeks later (November 30) headlines in 
the Times announced: 



There followed a special dispatch from Washing- 
ton. Events in Russia, it declared, had brought 
officials and diplomats u to a sudden reconsideration 
of the whole complicated situation involved in the 
worldwide menace of the Bolshevist movement." 
That familiar device — the "welkinformed circle" — 
was busily spinning again: 

"The best canvass of opinion in well-informed 
circles in Washington indicates that the Russian Bol- 
shevist movement is now to be regarded primarily as 
a military menace rather than as a political one — a 
menace that should be dealt with militarily and 
crushed militarily, just as the threat of German mili- 
tarism and imperialism against the world's safety, 
which loomed larger when the German drives began 
in the Spring of 1917, almost simultaneously with the 
entry of the United States into the world war, had 
to be met militarily." 

What was to be the Allied program? Those in- 
timately familiar with the situation had ready a 
solution : 

"It has now become clear to men intimately fa- 
miliar with the situation that the Bolshevist military 
menace must be smashed and that in President Wil- 
son's phrase, it can be met only with 'force without 

To a long train of similar dispatches picturing 
the Red Peril these two were the forerunners. Those 
which followed touched on many themes. Aside 
from the idea of general peril there was, for in- 
stance, the special peril menacing the Baltic States. 
Thus on December 17 (19 19) the Times published 
a special dispatch from Washington, asserting that 
the Soviets were attempting "to dragoon the 
Esthonians into acceptance of impossible demands 
in the face of military pressure." A high official 
in the State Department had summarized for the 
correspondent his idea of the Russian tactics: 

"These demands," said a high official of the State 
Department today, in an authorized statement having 
the indorsement of Secretary Lansing, "which would 
make Esthonia essentially a part of Bolshevist Russia, 
are being enforced by determined military attacks 
upon the Esthonian front. . . ." 

Yet when peace was signed, seven weeks later, a 

headline in the Times itself announced: "Esthonia 
Got Much From Soviet Russia" (Times, February 
6, 1920).* 

Again, there was the special peril menacing 
countries less directly in the path of Soviet Russia 
than were the Baltic states. Headlines on the first 
page of the Times, December 30, 19 19, reported 
"Reds Seek War with America"; and the Times 
of February 11, 1920, carried this dispatch: 


Honolulu, T. H., Feb. 9 (Associated Press) 
— Siberian Bolsheviki have captured Alexandrovsk, 
capital of the island of Sakhalin, and fear is felt that 
the radical forces may enter Japan proper, according 
to a special cable dispatch from the Tokio corres- 
pondent of Nippu Jiji, Honolulu Japanese language 
newspaper. . . . 

Now and then there was peril which the Amer- 
ican Government itself took a hand in advertising. 
Thus the Times on February 7, 1920, under head- 
lines asserting u Reds Raising Army To Attack 
India," carried a dispatch beginning in the follow- 
ing fashion: 

Special to the New York Times. 

Washington, Feb, 6. — A brief but significant 
announcement was issued by the State Depart- 
ment today, based on its official advices, to the effect 
that the Bolsheviki were endeavoring to establish 
military bases in Turkestan for a campaign against 

"The department's information," says the official 
announcement, "is to the effect that in Turkestan the 
Bolsheviki are recruiting natives and war prisoners 
into new units and are establishing military bases 
said to be preliminary to a campaign against India." 

As authority for this statement the Department 
cited an intercepted wireless message from Moscow 
to Tashkend, on December 6, 1919, announcing 
that "a propaganda train for organization and in- 
structive purposes will be dispatched to Turkestan." 
This intercepted wireless was all of the document- 
ary proof brought forward. Nothing in the pub- 
lished report was said of any propaganda outside of 
Turkestan. Was the State Department (guilty of 
more than one slip in the past) forgetful of the fact 

* Esthonia, according to accounts in the Times, Feb- 
ruary 3, 4, and 6, 1 920, received full recognition of her 
independence; fifteen million rubles in gold; exoneration 
from her proportional share in the repayment of Imperial 
Russia's debt; and preferential rights to a concession for 
building and exploiting direct railway connections between 
Moscow and the Esthonian frontier. Times headlines an- 
nounced February 15, however, that the Esthonian peace 
was only a "Lenin makeshift," and that Lenin had de- 
clared the terms would "be quite different when local Reds 
get control." 



August 4, 1920 

that Turkestan had been part of Russia when the 
Tsar sat on the throne? Was it no longer a part 
of Russia? The one solid thing in the State De- 
partment's memorandum was an intercepted wire- 
less, and that wireless proved only that the Govern- 
ment of Russia was attempting the no doubt hazard- 
ous experiment of winning the Mohammedans of 
Russians Turkestan by propaganda instead of simp- 
ly by the bayonet in the manner of the Tsar. 

Red Peril Again 

To gauge the effect of steady repetition, and to 
mark the sources from which material for that re- 
petition was drawn, take the news of a single month. 
We have chosen January of the year 1920. For 
the present purpose that is an important month be- 
cause it was then that final elimination of the last 
of the three White Generals had begun to prepare 
the way for new rumors that the Allies contemplat- 
ed peace with Russia. The Red Peril, in that month, 
was a frequent visitor: 

January 5*: Mr. Duranty cables from Riga 
that he has obtained copies of letters written to 
Moscow by a captured courier, and that they prove 
Moscow is working for "the establishment of 
universal dictatorship of the proletariat and Soviet 

January 9 : "Official quarters" describe the Bol- 
shevist menace in the Middle East as ominous. 
(Special cable from London.) 

January 10: "It is asserted" that the Soviets 
plan an offensive against the British in India. (Un- 
identified dispatch, London.) 

January 1 1 : "Allied officials and diplomats" 
envisage "a possible invasion of Europe." (Special 
dispatch from Washington.) 

January 13 : "Allied diplomatic circles" fear an 
invasion of Persia. (Another special from Wash- 

January 16: "British military authorities" ex- 
pect an attack on Persia. (Special cable from 

January 16: "Expert military opinion" expects 
an attack on Poland. (Associated Press, from 

January 16: "Well-informed diplomats" expect 
both a military invasion of Europe and a Soviet 
advance into Eastern and Southern Asia. (Special 
dispatch from Washington.) 

January 20: "It is understood" that the Supreme 
Council considered measures for protecting Azer- 
baijan and Georgia from attacks by the Soviets. 
(Unidentified dispatch, Paris.) 

January 21 : "Information . . . placed before the 
three Premiers" shows the Soviets are planning to 
open the way into Mesopotamia and Persia. (Mr. 
Edwin L. James, cabling from Paris.) 

* The date, in each instance, is the date of publication in 
the Times. 

January 21: "A dispatch to the Central News 
from Paris" states that the Supreme Council will 
send 200,000 troops to oppose the Soviets in the 
Caucasus. (Associated Press, London.) 

January 22 : "The best military and diplomatic 
intelligence received in Washington" expects a 
massed attack against Poland. (Special dispatch 
from Washington.) 

January 23: "Poland's diplomats" expect a mil- 
lion Soviet troops to be sent against them. (Mr. 
James, cabling from Paris.) 

January 30: "The French Foreign Office has 
received from its agents in India a report saying 
that the Bolsheviki are making extensive prepara- 
tions for an uprising in India against the British." 
(Mr. James again.) 

Fourteen dispatches in the month of January, 
warning of Red Peril to India and Poland, Europe 
and Azerbaijan, Persia, Georgia and Mesopotamia. 
That, averaged, is a dispatch almost every alter- 
nate day throughout the month. The net effect was 
certainly towards checking growth of an opinion 
that Russia's failure to rally to the interventionists 
had demonstrated the need of a new policy — of 
considering the Soviets as an authority with which 
some sort of truce could and must be made. You 
cannot make truce with Peril. 

There is, of course, the point of view which re- 
gards as wholly desirable this checking of the 
growth in public opinion towards support of a new 
policy. The reiterated warnings of Red Peril, ac- 
cording to this point of view, performed a useful 
public service. That, certainly, is a logical attitude 
— and it is no part of our task to dispute it. We 
are discussing not Russian policy but Russian news. 
It seems to us important, however, not only to note 
the fact that such dispatches appeared with regular- 
ity during a period when they were most useful, 
but also to mark the sources from which they were 
drawn: letters of a captured courier, "official 
quarters" (London), "allied officials and diplo- 
mats" (Washington), "allied diplomatic circles" 
(Washington), "British military authorities" 
(London), "expert military opinion" (London), 
"well-informed diplomats" (Washington), infor- 
mation "placed before the three Premiers" (Paris), 
"a dispatch to the Central News from Paris" (Lon- 
don), "the best military and diplomatic intelligence 
received in Washington," "Poland's diplomats," 
agents of the French Foreign Office in India. There 
are certain sources here — the last, for instance — 
which seem more definite and responsible than cer- 
tain others. But to us it seems fair comment that 
taken as a whole, with their reliance upon unidenti- 
fied "experts" and "diplomats" and upon "official 
quarters" where rumor invariably finds its favorite 
haven, particularly with the subordinate, these 
sources represent in fact a fairly irresponsible as- 

August 4, JQ20 



* sortment. The impression that they had their in- 
spiration in rumor rather than in fact, it must be 
added, is heightened by contrasting them with what 
has actually happened subsequent to their publica- 
tion. Five months have passed since January. But 
it was Poland, and not Russia, that first started an 
offensive. Soviet troops have indeed been landed 
in a Persian port (Enzeli), but there they went in 
pursuit of a Russian fleet which had landed there 
before them — Denikin's — and a dispatch to the 
London Herald states they have subsequent- 
ly been withdrawn.* There has been no uprising 
in India. Nor has there been an invasion of India. 
There has been no invasion of Mesopotamia. The 
most sensational, in fact, of all these January dis- 
patches, was as sensationally contradicted on the 
very day following its publication. January 16, a 
first-page headline in the Times, eight columns 
wide, announced: 


And the following morning came the news: 


The first report, then, was not reliable. So swift 

See the Times, June 19, 1920. 

a contrast between rumor and fact would — even 
were there no other reasons for doubt — raise legiti- 
mate suspicion concerning the accuracy of other 
news pitched in a similar key. 

It is on the note of the Red Peril that this study 
ends. It has appeared at every turn to obstruct 
the restoration of peace in Eastern Europe and 
Asia, and to frustrate the resumption of enonomic 
life. The Allied proposal in January to open trade 
relations was speedily labelled "nothing more than 
a tactical political move" on the part of the Allied 
Governments (special dispatch from Washington 
to the Times, January 22). In that way, too, have 
been tagged successive offers coming from Russia. 
u There has been no doubt at any time in Washing- 
ton official circles, " said a special dispatch to the 
Times, March 14, u that the Soviet 'peace* drive 
represented nothing more than a scrap-of-paper 
policy of the Soviet leaders, a mere tactical move, 
and that what they really sought was a breathing 
spell in which to concentrate their energies for a 
renewed drive toward world-wide revolution." 

Each peace proposal, whichever side first launch- 
ed it, a tactical move .... Meantime the Red Peril. 
That, with armed intervention no longer a possibil- 
ity, was the propaganda in the news. And if the 
peace of the world had not hung in the balance it 
would have made an interesting stalemate. 


Assuming that the preceding chapters constitute 
at least a prima facie case for saying that the run 
of the news on one matter of transcendent impor- 
tance to Americans has been dubious, what de- 
ductions are there to be drawn by the constructive 
critic of the press? Primarily, we believe, that the 
professional standards of journalism are not high 
enough, and the discipline by which standards are 
maintained not strong enough, to carry the press 
triumphantly through a test so severe as that pro- 
vided by the Russian Revolution. 

First as to standards. The analysis shows how 
seriously misled was the Times by its reliance upon 
the official purveyors of information. It indicates 
that statements of fact emanating from govern- 
ments and the circles around governments as well 
as from the leaders of political movements cannot 
be taken as judgments of fact by an independent 
press. They indicate opinion, they are controlled 
by special purpose, and they are not trustworthy 
news. If, for example, the Russian Minister of 
War says that the armies of Russia were never 
stronger, that cannot be accepted by a newspaper 
as news that the armies of Russia are stronger than 
ever. The only news in the statement is that the 

Minister says they are stronger. By any high jour- 
nalistic standard, the Minister's statement if it deals 
with a matter of vital importance is a challenge 
to independent investigation. 

The analysis shows that even more misleading 
than the official statement purporting to be a state- 
ment of fact, is the semi-official and semi-authorita- 
tive but anonymous statement. Such news is 
fathered by such phrases as : 

"Officials of the State Department" 

"government and diplomatic sources" 

"reports reaching here" 

"it is stated on high authority that" 
Behind those phrases may be anybody, a minor 
bureaucrat, a dinner table conversation, hotel lobby 
gossip, a chance acquaintance, a paid agent. Dis- 
patches of this type put the editor at home and the 
reader at the mercy of opinion that he cannot check, 
and it is time to demand that the correspondent 
take the trouble to identify his informants suffi- 
ciently to supply the reader with some means of es- 
timating the character of the report. He need not 
name the individual source but he can 'place' him. 
The analysis shows that certain correspondents 
are totally untrustworthy because their sympathies 





JugUSt 4, IQ20 

are too deeply engaged. Mr. Harold Williams's 
reports from Denikin's army were obviously queer 
at the time and are ridiculous in the light of events. 
A reporter is not entitled to hold an assignment 
when his disinterestedness is open to question. One 
is not able to avoid the impression that in the se- 
lection of correspondents the virture of conformity 
is at least balanced against the virtues of objectivity, 
insight and credibility. 

The analysis indicates also that even so rich and 
commanding a newspaper as the Times does not 
take seriously enough the equipment of the cor- 
respondent. For extraordinarily difficult posts in 
extraordinary times, something more than routine 
correspondents are required. Reporting is one of 
the most difficult professions, requiring much expert 
knowledge and serious education. The old conten- 
tion that properly trained men lack the "news 
sense" will not stand against the fact that improper- 
ly trained men have seriously misled a whole nation. 
It is habit rather than preference which makes read- 
ers accept news from correspondents whose useful- 
ness is about that of an astrologer or an alchemist. 
Important as it is for the press to read lessons in 
efficiency to workingmen, employees and politicians, 
it is no less important for the press to study those 
lessons itself. Measured by its responsibility and 
pretensions the efficiency of the newspapers is not 
what determined men could make it. 

The analysis shows further that at critical periods 
the time honored tradition of protecting news 
against editorials breaks down. The Russian policy 
of the editors of the Times profoundly and crassly 
influenced their news columns. The office handling 
of the news, both as to emphasis and captions, was 
unmistakeably controlled by other than a profes- 
sional standard. So obvious is this fact, so blatant 

is the intrusion of an editorial bias, that it will re- 
quire serious reform before the code which has 
been violated can be restored. 

Where is the power to be found which can define 
the standards of journalism and enforce them? 
Primarily within the profession itself. We do not 
believe that the press can be regulated by law. Our 
fundamental reliance must be on the corporate tra- 
dition and discipline of the newspaper guild. It 
is for them to agree on a code of honor, as the 
Bar Associations and Medical Societies have agreed, 
and for them to watch vigilantly for infractions of 
that code. As citizens they cannot escape this duty, 
and as members of a profession they are forced 
to it by the growing distrust which everywhere 
greets them. They know that to-day they are feared 
but not intimately respected, and the sins of some 
are visited upon all. 

But while the technical code of journalistic stand- 
ards, the tradition and the discipline belong to the 
guild, newspapers must be prepared for an in- 
creasing supervision from the readers of the press. 
Those readers will not simply "write letters to the 
editor" effective as such letters are. They will 
speak through organizations which will become 
centers of resistance. The report on the steel strike 
made by the Interchurch World Movement is an 
example of such resistance to the newspaper reports 
of that strike. The report on the activities of the 
Attorney-General by twelve lawyers for the Popu- 
lar Government League is an example of re- 
sistance to the red hysteria of 1919-20. They il- 
lustrate the point that a powerful engine of criticism 
is appearing in the community which will no longer 
naively accept the current news on contentious 
questions. With that fact the profession of jour- 
nalism will have to make a reckoning. 

AugUSt 4, IQ20 


m fjE take pleasure in announcing that we have just been ap- 
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Russia but 

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What I Saw in Russia 


In this book the spiritual leader of The British Labour Movement presents for the first time a 
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Ten Days That Shook the World 

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Profusely illustrated Price $2.50 Postage 15c 

The Bolsheviki and World Peace 

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The Awakening of Asia 

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Current Social and Industrial 
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Introduction by Professor James Harvey 
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Liberalism in America 

The study of the fragile structure of American Liber- 
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Price $2.00 Postage 10c 

British Labor and the War 

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Price $2.50 Postage 15c 

In Preparation 
The Gulf of Misunderstanding 

A successful attempt by the editor of "El Norte Ame- 
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The Evolution of Revolution 

A masterly history of the political and social evolu- 
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The Course of Empire 

By Ex-U. S. Senator R. F. PETT1GREW 
A scholarly presentation of the more im- 
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And John Reed's 

New Book on Russia 






August 4, IQ20 


"Barbarous Soviet Russia" 


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it deserves to be widely read for its sincerity 

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The Man and His Work 


and others 

The first authentic biography of Lenin, and the first 
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The Passing of the 
Old Order in Europe 


This work is the first attempt at a general survey of 
the forces which have brought about the downfall of 
the old order in Europe. The author demonstrates that 
the Russian Revolution was the logical consequence of 
what he ironically calls a policy of Bolshevism, which 
the ruling classes of Europe have pursued during the 
past seventy years. It was a policy for the suppression 
of the Individual in the interest of the classes in 
authority. Cloth, $2.50 

THOMAS SELTZER, Publisher, 5 W. 50th St., N. Y. 

IT is'nt so much fun to 
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XI I V I r I I SIVI • Bolshevism According 
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A History of Russia By V, O. Kluchevsky 

Late Professor of Russian History — University of Moscow 
One of the best historical works published in any language 
in recent years. — Annals of the American Academy. 

3 Vols., Each $4.00, Set $12.00 

Russia's Agony By Robert Wilton 

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The Last of the Romanofs By Charles Rivet 

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Russian Revolution Aspects By Robert Crozier Long 

Russian Correspondent of American Associated Press $3.00 

Potential Russia By Richard Washburn Child 

Order from Any Bookstore or 

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RELATIONS m™*, 1917, «, 

March, 1920 — Tiocuments and Papers 

Compiled and edited by C. K. Cumming 
and Walter W. Pettit, under the direc- 
tion of John A. Ryan, D. D., J. Henry 
Scattergood, and William Allen White. 
$3.50 net. 

"An extremely valuable contribution to an hon- 
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chief value lies in its orderly, chronological pres- 
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A discussion of public opinion and the 
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"There was probably never more need for a book 
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UgUSt 4, IQ20 




John Spargo, author of "Bolshevism," etc., has 
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lished on Aug. 10). 

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np^HE Russian Soviet Government Bureau 
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with introduction, by the Bureau, and an answer to a 
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(2) The Laws on Marriage and Domestic Relations. 
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Other pamphlets will follow. Special rates for quantities. 


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